New York City is the epitome of cool, generating a distinct sound of hipness and assurance through bands such as The Strokes, MGMT and The Rapture.
These days a new breed of artist has emerged from the achingly trendy Brooklyn, who are pushing the boundaries through forward-thinking and eclectic music. Drawing inspiration from psychedelic and electronic sounds, this new breed rides the wave of experimental pop-rock making the rest of the world sit up and notice.
One of these such bands is The Hundred in the Hands, an electro-pop duo consisting of Jason Friedman on guitar and controls, and Eleanore Everdell on vocals and keyboard. Formed in 2008 their self-titled debut album on Warp Records received favourable reviews and contained hidden sparks of beguiling tunes. Currently touring to promote their anticipated second album Red Night out June 11/12, Skiddle caught them in the midst of it at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen.
Opening with the punchy 'Dressed in Dresden', Jason’s Rickenbacker 30 ripped through the air stirring up the audience into a foot-tapping frenzy. Teamed with the crashing drums, warped synths and Eleanore’s alluring vocals, the result is a beautiful poppy electrical fusion that you can’t help to be drawn into.
Throughout the set the band take us on voyage through their debut album, each track as individual and infectious as the last. From the Europop sounds of 'Pigeons', to the dreamy 'Young Aren’t Young', to the resonating 'Commotion', Eleanore’s haunting vocals lead the crowd into a wonderful synthesised trance. Ending on a high with 'Lovesick (Once Again)', by this time the band have the crowd fired up and singing along, happy to be engaged with this little taste of Brooklyn cool.
After being called back on for an encore the band dived straight into 'Keep it Low', their first track off the second album or rec-erd as the Americans would say. In keeping with their dreamy-pop sound 'Keep it Low' lacks the razzledazzle of the likes of 'Pigeons', but continues to allure with its orchestral melody and melancholy lyrics.
Having sampled my first live experience of The Hundred in the Hands, I can say that I was not disappointed. Each track felt as poignant as it does in my bedroom and spans multiple genres to create a charming sound suitable to many tastes.
My only criticism would be that it would be nice to see Eleanore appear from behind her keyboard a little more, commanding the role of lead vocalist and increasing her presence on the stage.
We await the release of their second album with anticipation.
Originally published: 5th Jun 2012