Friday, August 3, 2012

Lady Hips - Best Friends

Lady Hips are a genre defying group from Hartford. They blend folk, jazz, pop and rock into an eclectic hybrid ripe with lush melodies. On their debut LP "Best Friends" they explore several different musical environments.

I first heard of Lady Hips when they submitted "Similarities" to the CTIndie Summer Mix Tape D60 (which you may have seen floating around at shows in CD and CS format) and I was instantly blown away. I was excited to think that this song was a part of an upcoming LP. Well it looks like my wait (and yours) is over.

"Degrees of Separation" starts the LP off with a simple acoustic guitar which is quickly joined by piano and synth. Then the groups most easily noticeable skill surfaces, vocal harmonies. This is a nice warm start to a pop album, like the first break of day. The organ solo is extraordinary.

"Similarities" is at its core a simple pop song embellished far beyond its usual boundaries. The singers/players perform a multitude of different and overlapping parts until the whole thing is a dizzying round of "row row row your boat" style vocals and instrumentation. This is such a strong single is deserves the Track 2 spot. I am so glad these guys sent this track to us.

"The Boat Song" clocks in at 7:44 and is a quiet folk song with sweeping crescendos. This song seems to have its own built in pressure system. It builds and builds and then in catharsis it releases. This song is also rich with warm instrumentation and perfectly executes playing/singing. These guys are really in a class all their own.

"Westmoreland" starts with a southwestern flavor, as guitars and drums steadily lead us into similarly flavored vocals. This song is pleasent and still remains interesting. It's composition takes turns but no sharp lefts. The harmonies are just as good here as on any of the other tracks on this album.

"Simple Obligations" is like a darker sibling of "Similarities". It's every bit as rich with sound and melody and follows some of the same rules but is a little darker. A little more brooding went into this one. Electric guitar leads and twinkling piano take this one out on a dissonant note.

"Glow Brighter" sounds quiet at first. It reminds me of O'Rourke era Gastr Del Sol, or even David Grubbs solo material. The sound swells toward the end into a truimphant finish.

The title track starts out kinda jokey like a kids song and quickly becomes a classy vintage jazz tune. Like something from half a century ago. The "Why Can't We Be Friends" style outro to this song demonstrates that they can be serious, silly or both. The later half of this song is peppered with sound bytes and almost makes it feel like it comes out of left field. I start to wonder if this is true. Each song on this LP explores a particular sound and vibe and this is another of the same.

So much skill is in these guys that it's obvious they will be playing larger shows and getting more recognition as the days go by, so I would take advantage of knowing now. This album is a strong debut from a band that already has an abundance of promise. Their command of their craft matched with their obvious love of so many sounds has crafted a wealthy collection of songs that you should get your hands on as soon as you can.

This album comes out Saturday, August 4, via Lady Hips Bandcamp, as well as in physical formats.

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