Every time you think you’ve got Warp Records pegged they throw you a wobbly like The Hundred in the Hands. Far removed from the likes of Autechre, Aphex, and other Warp mainstays, THITH discard the label’s usual subterranean ethos and deliver a shadowy cocktail that’s often more pop than electro. Aside from the fact that this seems to be a sure money maker, the reasons for signing the NYC duo are somewhat esoteric. They certainly don’t fit in with the rest of Warp’s artists, but then neither do Grizzly Bear or Gravenhurst so perhaps we shouldn’t be pointing fingers just yet.
Evolutionarily speaking THITH haven’t really made much progress since their debut in 2010. All the core elements – rising synth’s, ’80s style vocals and intelligible guitar work – remain virtually unchanged. The production on these elements however has been altered to the point where everything sounds impossibly cavernous. Assumedly the desired effect is to give the band more edge, but the recording seems to be doused in so much reverb that the album echoes it’s way into the realm of pretentiousness. Singer Eleanor Everdell has always sounded inflated, now she just sounds showy. Fortunately, she has a talent for expressing genuine emotion with each song and it is her saving grace. Tracks like ‘Red Night’ and bittersweet lament ‘Faded’ allow access into depths of Everdell that shouldn’t really be traversed by strangers.
Aside from the two aforementioned songs the whole album is irritatingly samey. Each track has a perfunctory slow start and busy chorus. It’s like trying to watch a relay race in dense fog, half the time you’re not even sure whether the baton has switched hands – occasionally a track will stick out – and then it’s over before you know it.