New album presents unique sound

New album presents unique sound

Cynthia Mao

"The Hundred In the Hands" album stands apart from everyday music

 

 

Music is often overshadowed by its outer appearance. Outrageous hairstyles and armadillo shoes shouldn’t be what sets artists apart from their competitors. Maybe it’s been forgotten, but the music itself is what genuinely matters. It’s the meaning behind every uttered word, the orchestrated arrangement of instruments, that allows artists to define themselves. Perhaps it’s the fear of being truly different that limits a vast majority of today’s musicians, but The Hundred In the Hands steps into the spotlight, and where other bands don’t dare try, they excel.

 

Three years in the making, The Hundred In the Hands is a different, bridge-between-genres kind of music. New York City-based band members Jason Friedman and Eleanore Everdell derive musical inspiration from techno, post-punk, and vintage hip-hop bands, but their personal music is a patchwork of all three and more. They met in November 2007 and wrote their first collaborative song “Dressed in Dresden,” a clever blend of guitar and harmonic vocals. This song, which defines the band’s aesthetic, is featured in the band’s first full-length, self-titled album, released on Sept. 21. The album has a digital sound, and features 11 new songs.

 

“The Hundred In the Hands” has a variety of tracks: Ones like “Dressed in Dresden” artfully combine live guitar with percussion and electronic melodies, creating pleasing mélanges of sound; while tracks like “The Beach” go in a different direction, as ballad-like as digitized tracks can get. “The Beach” incorporates a pulsating background with a powerful vocal performance by Everdell. The crystallized display of sound that is present in the band’s other tracks doesn’t overshadow Everdell’s impressive vocals.

 

The Hundred in the Hands released their self-named debut album on Sept. 21, featuring Jason Friedman and Eleanore Everdell. The band combines electronic and alternative sound, to create a unique style, known as “indietronica.”

Her breathy performance isn’t exactly electronic music, and it’s not easily categorized. This middle ground, where artists find it difficult to define themselves, is a blank slate; for The Hundred In the Hands to venture in armed with synthesizers and analog machines is a risky move.

 

Because music, which is supposed to cover all grounds, is filed into Pop, Alternative, Hip-Hop, Country, and other labels, it’s hard for Friedman and Everdell to mark their territory in the music industry. However, their “indietronica” music presents them as 

being entirely different, and their lack of labels is what in defines the band. The cathartic lyrical accounts of their experiences break the barrier between what is accepted reality. “Lovesick (Once Again),” one of the tracks with darker sounds and complex, choir-like harmonies, describes yearning as “Tarantulas under the skin / Got King Kong battling within / A blood moon looms in the sky above / I’m the Wolfman / I’m frantic in love.” Friedman and Everdell do fall prey to the occasional repetitive croon like “It-it-it-it-it-it-it rips into me,” but here it’s more of an effect rather than a filler. This is the kind of musical inspiration that today’s music needs, but often lacks.

 

With the dominance of tracks like “Lovesick (Once Again)” and “Dressed In Dresden,” others like “Dead Ending” and “Gold Blood” aren’t as memorable, despite the conflicting, but satisfying, arrangement of frantic lyrics and whimsical vocals. But the gauzy electronic feel of The Hundred In the Handsa mix of Everdell’s sugary vocals and Friedman’s hard-edged digital outputhave brought out this underground indie music, and both the hard core music fanatic as well as the occasional listener should enjoy it.