Adam Gardner and Lance M Keelbe describe their music for Charlie’s Hand Movements as “deeply unsuccessful melodic wimp-rock combo” and I have to say I disagree. If you define success as opening up for Radiohead then maybe you could say they are unsuccessful but if you define it by what kind of music they are making on their album Actors then I would have to say they are quite successful. They do make make melodic even atmospheric music but I hesitant to use the word wimpy. This may be just a self-deprecating pun and while they are more inclined to find fans who dig Death Cab for Cutie rather than Mastodon they are quite a few songs on here that are just as accessible to a 32-year old male as a 14 year-old girl.
The fact is that Gardner and Keelbe work very well together and have constructed a number of very well written and original songs. There style is similar to a band like Menomena. They do have that cute pop sensibility but they also find a unique variety of experimental sounds to make the songs very appealing. Not only do they pull from a number of different sources but they also change it up on every song. From the ethereal ambience atmospheres to the more distorted clouds of shoegaze-inspired white noise there isn't much time for you to get bored.
The album opens up with “Just Like Autumn Leaves,” which starts off as an ambient piece that has dissonant atmospheres that transform as a palm-muted guitar provides a backbone. Vocals come into the song and add even more structure before the raw, distorted sounding drums stop almost before they start. This song is a great introductory one for the album. The song does not have a typical structure as illuminated by their ability to work out of a typical verse-chorus, verse structure. The second song “Cereal Box” is another winner. The song rocks out pretty hard at points combining distorted guitar chords and distant vocal harmonies. They pick their points and strategy never packing too much in and leaving plenty of space for the song to breathe. “I Won’t Try To Move You” is one of the most emotionally resonant songs on the album. It is sparse song consisting of piano, vocals and some experimental components that packs quite a wallop. The album closes with “Hopelessly/Helplessly,” which bursts with unbridled joy and exuberance showing yet another style the band can properly implement.
After listening to Actors and the songs Charlie’s Hand Movements is making I would have to say I hope they find the “success” they are looking for because they sure deserve it.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook