Never underestimate the power and potential of a lo-fi garage-rock-revival duo; to do so would be foolish if listening to …And the Hangnails‘ latest gem ‘You & I’.
A tune about wrestling with yourself, combating the uncertainties you face when that glance in the mirror is unsure of what’s casted back. Combine those ideas with loud, guttural guitars and a bombastic drum explosion, and the results are quite magnificent.
With their first record out before they had ever played a live show, the early gigs proved that the band’s freedom from multiple members was a hit, boosting the intimacy with an incredible live energy and a penchant for seductive melodies – melodies shiny when written but dragged through the dirt when played live. Always engaging, looking for audiences to participate rather than simply observe from the corner, the video for ‘You & I’ was shot at a house-party. A party where people kiss, dance and fight with equal passion, a perfect way to describe their raw sound; primal and inventive.
Well-deserved support slots with the likes of Wet Nuns, Deap Vally, Drenge, The Jim Jones Revue and The Fall have only added to the buzz; bands that gorge on audience reactions, dismissing their expectations entirely. The influences are apparent in ‘You & I’: 2 minutes is enough to start the demolition of the wall of white noise, bleeding from delayed guitar stutters mistaken as keyboards at first, but cut like steel strings to pure teenage skin, still punk and personal. The drums, too, never lose sight of the finishing line, short it may be, but they crash and collide into every surface, pummelling and pushing the chaotic guitar through a filter set to do nothing except unleash the heaviest and most emotive of cathartic experiences.
Their freedom as a duo can be seen in the band’s short but substantial history. Before ‘Rut‘, …And The Hangnails released two full-length albums; the first, ‘No Time For Naysayers‘ of April 2011, was written and recorded in just four days, using entirely an H2 Zoom Dictaphone, a capsulation of the mood and blues of a band that shift in dynamics as a duo faster than most could tune up or change instruments. The second record, ‘BARE‘, was released in 2012. Again representing their nature as individuals in love with what they do, excess was not allowed to discredit their talents for writing a great tune; hooks sharp and hearts beating. With this band less is more, all very punk rock and potent in anarchy and anti-studio trickery.
‘Rut’, their new album, will be released in the summer. Fans of falling over and falling in love, take note.