COMING FROM Boston, Massachusetts, The Hush Now is a sort of Death Cab for Cutie of the dreamy, shoegaze-brushed pop world. The band plays everything too safe, too predictably for us to really love them, but they’re also too pretty and likeable to ignore. Their self-titled debut reads a little bit like a less punky, more tasteful Relient K—except that where Relient K is silly, The Hush Now is sleepy.
The sleepiness is the sum of their never ending rolls of percussion, the vocals low in the mix, the irresistible guitar riffs, and the dabs or organ and synth. It’s all quietly appealing, dreamy, skillful work. The drums are persistent, the vocals wash over you in unvarying waves of soothing-ness, and every once and a while (like the moog organ sound on “Subtle like Bombs) something jolts you awake from your sweet dreams. The Hush Now: What better band name could these guys have?
The first notable song here is “Sadie Hawkins Dance” (decidedly not a Relient K cover), which starts and ends with those circus sounds we’ve been cursed with ever since Sergeant Pepper. It’s a perfectly acceptable, if slightly un-interesting introduction to the band. A better one would be “Ashes”, which begins with a bouncy bass line and concludes amongst a storm of reverberating guitars and clattering percussion, or “Traditions” which perfects the mesmerizing layering of percussion that most distinguishes the band. The Hush How is precise and meticulous, and they undeniably achieve what they’re aiming for.
Every song is a document of sleepy days spent in the sun, throwing frisbees at the park before heading home to play some music in your garage. Band leader and vocalist Noel Kelly is always pining for something, using the same mid-range whisper in every song. And you can’t help but listen in subdued pleasure, looking admiringly for what’s next. The future seems bright, if only for a few minutes. That’s the comfort of well made, if undistinguished, music.
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