Herff Jones has recently released their second EP, The Mercury Floor, whose radically eclectic offering makes it even more challenging to place them within the comfortable confines of a genre. I honestly couldn't figure out where to place this band, maybe the strange lo-fi lovechild of The Hush Sound and Andrew Bird? No, probably not. The female singers’ voice is reminiscent of Haley Williams’, but their style is not (at all), especially during the more hard-hitting songs that sport a sort of experimental punk-influence. Regardless, the harmonies of the two singers work so well that I could not care less what genre they happen to place themselves in, which, as mentioned in CTIndie’s review of their last EP, is ‘Alternative Rock?’
The first song on the EP, Well, Oh Well, whose live version was included in the previous release, was definitely the best song to lead with, as it was poppy enough to hook the listener but not as angsty or soft hearted as their other songs; it’s a perfect in between whose style in not repeated in the small collection. The guitar focus in this song was acoustic, and the electric took a clean backseat. The vocals are soft and dreamy and lead into each other delicately but with plenty of energy and the drums and bass are both quiet, but plenty peppy and supportive. Altogether, this may be the most well structured track, and definitely got me excited to hear the rest (even if I had no idea what I was in for).
The second song is my favorite on the EP, and I didn't mind that it followed the first song UNTIL I heard the last song, and now I wish they had been switched; I really, honestly think Mr. Interruption would be a better way to finish off. The distorted electric dominates here, on the shortest song in the collection, and the drummer gets to make quite a bit more noise. The singers’ practically dissonant harmonies clash to serve the song well, brandishing slightly different sounds and speeds to pull together the excitedly punkish power of the song.
Little Foot is what I think an interlude should damn-well look like, starting with a slightly drawn out instrumental, leading into acoustic harmonies, peaking with power from the whole band and falling back down into the quasi-hypnotic acoustic utopia. The journey is easy to follow and beautifully realized, and I wouldn't have it any other way. This song takes a close second place for me.
In Momentary Collapse, we get our distortion back, though slower, and a country/bluegrass influence that somehow works very, very well. I am reminded of Emery as the track is slowed down and loaded with suspense, though once again, no one band can be closely compared to Herff.
War-Torn Symmetry keeps with the trend of distortion, leading electric and boasting vocals closer to the dissonant rhythm of Mr. Interruption. As previously touched upon, I would have liked this song to be switched with Mr. Interruption, because I don’t think it works as well as a conclusion as Mr. Interruption might. It’s too suspenseful for me, leading me to want another song, whereas Mr. Interruption is snappy and conclusive. If this EP were a relationship, which it might as well be, Mr. Interruption would be cutting it off with emotional closure and satisfying break-up sex and War-Torn Symmetry would be me burning a box of her clothes and weeping openly in the town green. (That may have been a little melodramatic; I swear the song only made me cry in private.)
Really, just listen to the damn thing. It's great, whoever I play it around has to jot it down somewhere, and I sure as hell can’t stop listening to it. I don’t think it’s available for purchase right now (or at least, I couldn't figure out where to buy it, and trust me, I tried), but you can listen to the whole thing on soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/herffjones/sets/mercuryfloor. No really, click it. Here it is again: https://soundcloud.com/herffjones/sets/mercuryfloor.