The Shaky Hands: Lunglight

By: Sarah Moore

The Shaky Hands might be into Talking Heads. The Portland band’s sophomore release, Lunglight (released September 9 on Kill Rock Stars), bops around with frenetic guitar jangles (Jeff Lehman) and explosive basslines (Mayhaw Hoons) reminiscent of the proto-punks. Nick Delff‘s vocals sometimes recall a softer-spoken Eddie Vedder (especially “Air Better Come”) as he sighs and breathes his words over driving garage rock. Drummer Colin Anderson and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Delff (Nick’s brother and a member of the Castanets) combine multi-percussive elements (tambourines, shakers, sticks, spoons, etc.) for a polyrhythmic smorgasbord. The Shaky Hands may have traded their sparse handclaps in for other textures, but their sense of pop remains intact. Instead of succumbing to the sophomore slump, Lunglight progresses beyond feel-good summertime pop songs. Many comparisons to The Strokes and early R.E.M. often permeate their reviews, which boast high scores of 7 out of 10 and higher in most outlets.

In addition to its punk rock pace, Lunglight boasts psychedelic undertones and dark undercurrents. In “World’s Gone Mad,” distortion reigns supreme against a Springsteen (actually, Max Weinberg) style beat and spooky mixture of electronic textures. Delff croaks with a creepy beyond-the-grave deadpan while reverb and feedback move to their own time signature (or lack thereof). “Show Me Your Life,” one of the standout tracks, combines fluttering guitar with a unison chorale chanting, “Wait to find / Your piece of mind / ‘Cause it can’t happen now / Why can’t it happen now?” A youthful vigor streams through the piece as mature and worldly wisdom flows from the lyrics. These are all ingredients that most people enjoy presented with a very likable sound. Suffice it to say, The Shaky Hands are raising Portland’s indie pop scene’s bar to the next level.

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