Album Review: Hands & Teeth – Hunting Season
Posted by J2
Hands & Teeth
What do you get when you put five musically inclined friends together into one house? Well, probably some noise complaints, but also Hands & Teeth’s new effort, Hunting Season.
The collaborative feel of this album picks up where Broken Social Scene left off, or perhaps where they started. Images of summer jam sessions at a cottage or a city rooftop patio are conjured at every turn. Nostalgic events you’d find documented in your parents’ yellowed photo albums of their youth- or your hipster friends’ Instagram account.
Those impressions aren’t far from the truth; Kevin, Adam, Derek, Natasha and Jeff actually share a house in downtown Toronto. It’s also where they recorded Hunting Season. Not in a home studio, but in hallways, closets and bedrooms. This method is championed by the album’s softness; sounds left untouched by the glossy, over-compressed, hard edges of the “machine”.
Simplicity is Hunting Season’s main theme. The instrumentation plays it cool, letting the multi-harmony vocals shine. ‘Missing’, in particular, sounds live off the floor; as if the tune just broke out at a party. ‘Sound of Hamilton’ is the only track that diverts from the clean sound, adopting distortion that emulates the grimy steel city. While each of the eight songs veers off in a different sonic direction, a mixture of electric and acoustic instruments paired with heavenly harmonization can be expected from every one.
According to the band, all of their songs bear the fingerprints of every member, regardless of who brought the idea to the table. There is no “lead singer”. Sometimes the vocal lead is even traded off several times in one song. Their lyrics ooze with twenty-something insecurities; longing for the past, fear of the future and confusion of being.
Listening to Hunting Season is easy; defining its sound is difficult. It fits comfortably anywhere from the 1970’s until now; hints of Spiral Beach, Fleetwood Mac and Stealers Wheel gleaming through the indie folk-rock façade. You’re not going to like it just because you like folk, or dislike it because you despise indie, but I can almost guarantee that there’s something in this album for you. Just give it a try.