As fall settles in, I break out my finest collection of blankets perfect for self-loathing and brooding and sure, happy fuzzy cozy time as well I suppose. It's that time of year when I manage to slow myself down. Something about the transition from warm to cold, which happens at breakneck speed here in Chicago makes me get very introspective. So now is a great time for an album like Hang-Ups from Short Shorts. This is an interesting, lo-fi counter culture punk experience. Lots of spiteful shoe gazing going on here. I respect this kind of aesthetic and naturally, can identify with it.
This album comes from the flourishing music scene of Denver, Colorado and while there are some things about this album that are Denver-esque, it has a lot of elsewhere elements. I end up picking up a lot of psych rock out of Denver and I appreciate that I'm getting something a little edgier and off the beaten path. I got the sense this album is meant to rub against the grain and yet it does so at a much slower pace than most. That's kind of revolutionary; no need to scream to agitate; we got enough of that these days.
Lots of rough and grungy guitar work on here that preys so easily on my love of this caliber of alt rock. Again that slow pace really lets me take it in and brood with it. When the rhythm does kick up a notch, I have to say I really enjoy the drum work on here from Andrea Davis. I think there was room for a little more experimentation in this department. A big part of what stirs a reaction is the vocals from Charli Rose Alexander. The vocal hits a hard monochromatic vein and for a good part of the album, it was just what the doctor ordered, at other times, not so much. That vocal muscle is strong and on occasion would show that off, but in my opinion, not as much as I would have liked. I think that hard vein is part of the statement and I understand and respect that instinct.
Overall there was a very bare bones approach to the music. Hang-Ups was recorded at The Band Cave which is a local studio in Denver. There is a big digital presence here which is all good. It's rare that I say this, but I think I would want to hear this album in a more raw and live sort of state. There's not a lot of layers and so I felt there was a hefty amount of negative space which kept the album from sounding full-bodied. I think the song that was actually very successful in filling that space was "Losing Sleep." This one built a really cool and appropriate miasma around it.
Short Shorts has something very interesting here. It's very authentic in its angst and discourse. I felt very justifies in my blanket pile with this one. If you're a blanket brooder like me, you'll feel right at home with Hang-Ups.
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