UH HUH is the self-titled debut album from Toronto’s UH HUH, the band formerly known as Teenanger who rearranged their line-up and sound from muted indie-funk to the bright reverberation of what they call “spaced-out 1980s post-punks feeding their angular rhythms and bass-heavy grooves”.
The album is a hazy mix of loose-limbed bossa nova on tracks like ‘Somewhere Beyond’ and ‘Good, You?’ with flashes of dub and laid back funk brought over from their previous band and on show in the waka-waka riffs of ‘Redemption Pause’; although all those angular riffs are unable to scratch the soft vocals of Melissa Bell which drift overheard like clouds.
Vocal duties on UH HUH are split. There is the low talk-sing quality of Christopher Swimmings which has the conspiratorial feeling of someone singing close to your ear which you can hear on the midnight-on-the-bayou haze of ‘Babylon’ or the gruff syncopation on ‘Good, You?’ Then there’s the spectral velvet of Melissa Bell’s voice which is a cool breeze in comparison to the smoke of Swimmings, and the juxtaposition of their voices on tracks like ‘Babylon’ or the chorus of ‘Good, You?’ works so well.
‘Rain In The Afternoon’ is hung on a great reggae bassline with a guitar line that would put a smile on Robert Smith’s red lips and this track shows off the band’s secret weapon to its fullest. While they were experimenting in Toronto’s Studio Z they hit upon the idea to send drum machines, snare and percussion through a rare 1960’s Japanese Guyatone guitar amp which has a spring reverb that’s as lively as a shaken bottle of champagne. From this sonic epiphany the sound of the record was born.
From soft bossa nova to dubby syncopation UH HUH sits on the record shop shelves near Stereolab or the quieter side of St. Etienne. Angular elements are softened by the deep in your cups feeling of late nights/early mornings and the constant shimmer of that spring reverb fizzing makes this album an intoxicating delight.
Uh Huh on Instagram | Bandcamp
UH HUH are:
The album is released by Telephone Explosion Records
Review by Paul F Cook
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