If you asked me how I feel about two-piece bands, I’d say I’m not really a fan. But there’s some disconnect as I find myself listening to quite a few of them, really. A lot of the time I praise the arrangement for their ability to find a full sound in limited instrumentation. With Hannahband it’s something different, an ability to balance raw emotion amid textured soundscapes.
It’s something of an early Against Me! energy, while capturing its own sound instead of the copycat folk-punk thing. Instead, Hannahband is coarse and rough, intentionally unpolished and gritty. This time around, though, with Quitting Will Improve Your Health, there’s a softer side that shows more melody and, in “Cardcastle,” even some smooth jazz saxophone.
Last time around, with Retirement, the sounds really relied on a constant shout that, when played at low volume, was nothing but coarse vocalization. With Quitting they’ve really let their softer side come through without altering the band’s style. “Accommodations” is a great middle point of the two sounds. It begins calm and flowing until the music breaks down in the middle when sparse instrumentation blends with throat shredding vocals, then transitions into a beautiful and slightly dramatic melody that closes out the song. The next song, “29er” keeps that momentum while utilizing a call and response vocal trick that’s, again, more melodic but still brims with a cutting harshness that’s at Hannahband’s heart. Nathan Martin shows some singing ability in “Grave Semantics,” but it’s countered by dense layers of distortion as he delivers the flowing words.
On Quitting, the group has kept their identity as a rough-around-the-edges harsh band, but while playing lovely and shifting melodies that intermix with the discordant material. Sometimes it’s direct and brutal, sometimes noisy like “Pink & Blue” or even gentle, as in the closing “Cardcastle.” The album itself is only 8 songs (21 minutes) and that brevity is part of the identity. Quick and to the point: brittle, beautiful, and ugly all at the same time.
8.0 / 10
Hannahband SPB: Besides music, what other arts are you interested in? Nathan: Besides music my favourite type of art would have to be a tie ...
Posted May 26, 2015, 1:11 p.m.
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