What has made for the immediate success of Various Hands since 2011 is their incredible style known as dance rock. A style that has earned them their respectable spot on the rock charts, massive radio airplay and much more. Fronted by vocalist Jeff Nations, Various Hands consists of Zach Meier and Adam Wirth. Hypoluxo makes for the perfect album for the season in the sense that you play the album while driving with the windows rolled down and volume turned up on a cool sunny day. Let's break down, Hypoluxo.
Memphis Decisions (Be Cool)
The opening track to Hypoluxo is truly addicting. With the blend of melodic vocals and the signature dance rock feel this song is proven to become an instant favorite. We are introduced to the catchy, yet subtle "ping-pong" baseline courtesy of Adam Wirth as mentioned by frontman Jeff Nations. The lyrics are easy enough to memorize and sing along. We also have the presence of the Omnichord by Nations. I will admit, I had to do a little side research and let's just say it's that added electronic synth feel we hear. Genius !
Remember Me Always
While one guitar launches a 16th note sequence for four measures, the second guitar accents the upbeat that maintain the essence of the song throughout. On this particular track though with minimal instrumentation or the band rocking out, Nations blends smoothly at the vocals from phrase to phrase allowing for superb syncopation. The interpretation of the track tells about a spin-less world and the urgency to keep moving on, perhaps from a relationship. "Tear drops never did much for me, we had one night to see how much we could be..." with the final line being, "Remember me always".
The Fleeting Starlight
One of the more mellow tracks of the album. A steady tempo that once again allows for Nations to express his talent at the microphone. Another of the interesting features to this song is when the track goes into double time it goes from from a punk rock ballad style (courtesy of the staccato picking of the bass guitar) to a punk rock song with the driving element of the drums.
The misleading stain of lips on a wine glasses makes for a fun miscommunication amongst two people, and yet another one of my favorite songs. It is sort of a back and forth between John and a female where he keeps getting mixed signals. Where the response is simple towards John, "You're the one who has to live with all the shame, blame, etc, etc".The style of dance rock is highly felt on this one as it invites to get up and move !
The Perils of Time Travel
Hypoluxo has been labeled as having a "Spacey" feel and this one expresses it. The electronics along with Nations' echoed vocals leave this track an out of this world experience... (pun intended). Although the meaning of The Perils of Time Travel escape me, it is catchy and a well crafted song. I dig it !
The Last Few Days of This Splendid Town
The Last Few Days of This Splendid Town in a not-so-splendid town. "The town's not worth the spit I wasted saying it's name". A line many of us can relate to. The guitar lick that lingers throughout the verses are simple, yet very well executed that transition into the signature rock style. Another well crafted line, "The trees are holding on with a dying affection... and I'm left sitting here with a minor infection".
Various Hands has stood out to me so much because of their rapid success. Since 2011 until present time, they have played to sold out crowds, they have licensed their music to over a dozen television networks, and of course have their music blasting on the radio waves across the United States and Canada.
Ideally, I was sent the EP of Hypoluxo and was drawn instantly. The fusion of early rock music, punk and dance had me memorizing songs like Memphis Decisions and Lipstick before they had even ended.
Jeff Nations has the vocals of a veteran punk rocker with his own signature melodic flare. The equally talented contributions of the other Hands are what gets songs on the charts. A side note on what gives VH their style is the ability to accent and play on the upbeat more often than most. That is what gives us the bounce, or the feeling to want to dance along. A feature so well done by the drums and the second guitar as played in Memphis Decisions and Remember Me Always.
I cannot recommend Various Hands nor sing their praises enough. Their meteoric rise in less than a handful of years is enough reason to get this album. So follow them, like them, and most importantly, listen to them. Until next time, be cool !
"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing"
"Hey Ho, Let's Go"