Friday, August 12, 2011

REVIEW: She's Hit - Pleasure

I think we all understand that there aren't a lot of new elements to pop music that are going to be discovered and played for us. But we can delight when a young band takes influences, good influences in this case, and fuses them into something different than what their contemporaries are offering us. In the case of Glasgow band, She's Hit, we get a scuzzy, dirty, noisy brand of garage rock built upon a foundation, in varying amounts depending on the track, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Stooges and The Birthday Party (a song of which provides our subject with their name), and hell, maybe Suicide and The Cramps, too. And it is topped by lead singer David Wilson's understated, louche but somewhat snarling vocals that seem born of Iggy and Mark E. Smith. As the band notes, their music has been tagged with a number of labels, but my favorite probably is "dirty surf".

The debut album from She's Hit, Pleasure, was released on June 20. It begins with the a cappella opening of title track "Pleasure", which tips the band's adventuresome nature and then its affinity for scuzzy noise. The next track is the standout "Shimmer Shimmer", which is perhaps the hardest edged song while still being very accessible:

She's hit - Shimmer Shimmer from Fiftyquidvids on Vimeo.

However, the band is capable of dialing down the noise -- although fortunately not the intensity -- to wonderful effect. Here is the dirty surf of "Part One", with guest co-vocalist Jen Paley:
Part One by She's Hit

She's Hit may have the coolest vibe going in Scotland. Part of it is their distinctive sound. Part of it is their bold decision to create their own label, Re:Peater Records, to give them control of their music. And part of it has to be the maturity of developing their songs adequately, despite the ability to rush out a record on their own label. Nor can one discount the affect of the band's friends and colleagues. While She's Hit lists five members, David Wilson, Mike Hanson, Philip McLellan, Cammy Wilson, and Fraser McFadzean (listed on Facebook but only as a guest on the album), they list as honorary members Scott Paterson (guitarist and vocalist of Sons and Daughters), Emily Mclaren, and Jen Paley (vocalist for the late Astral Planes). All of the honorary members played a part in the album, including Paley's vocals on three tracks. Paterson also is thanked for his "input, enthusiasm and advice". I like the boys' sense of humor, too. When faced with a harsh review of a live show, they responded with their own humorous improvement of the offending journalist's written product.

An good example of the reverb-drenched scuzzy sound found in several songs is "Re:Peater":

The album was recorded at the Green Door Studio in Glasgow. You can stream it below and buy a digital copy or a physical copy from the Re:Peater Records Bandcamp site linked below. Both the download and the CD include nine bonus tracks, which are remixes of album tracks. Of course, digital is easy, but you should know that the physical album is lovely, with artwork, design and layout by Iceland native Hrafnhildur Halldorsdottir.

Stream Pleasure here:

This album is completely under my skin, and I've been playing it nearly daily for weeks now. It is vibrant, noisy, dark and intriguing. Obviously, I recommend it.

Hrafnhildur Halldorsdottir's website

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