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Who Are These Weird Old Kids?
Artist: The Hit Back
Time: 10 tracks/34 minutes

The Hit Back are Jesse Hanabarger and Seth Weidmann, two guys from Chicago who specialize in “electro folk,” which, if you’re wondering what that is, is probably what you think it sounds like.  Taking piano and acoustic guitar and layering them with electronic percussion and keyboards, these two create charming, catchy songs that make for a very easy listen.

The album begins with “Me and the Kid,” a fuzzy, melodic keyboard loop with sparse percussion that eventually grows into a driving beat that pushes the song along.  The second track, “Too Fat to Crawl,” uses driving beats and acoustic guitar to propel the song as the band adds more and more layers before falling back to the strummed guitar on the verse.  Another track that uses driving percussion to great effect is “Tagalong,” and it too builds and builds, never letting up on the frenetic beat.

The band also shows that it knows its way around a slower song with “Everything Leaks.”  This track features piano along with electronic beats and swelling keyboards, and it all really reminded me of The Arcade Fire.  In addition to that, the falsetto vocals add a dash of early Radiohead.  “Afternoon” is another song with a slower, similar vibe that takes even longer to build to its crescendo.  It does an excellent job of setting an atmosphere and sucking the listener in to the melody being carried through the song by using lots of reverb on the keyboards as well as plenty of incidental sounds that add to the overall vibe of the song.  There are also a few tracks where they drop the “electro” and focus more on the folk such as “That Wave” and “Down the Hall.”

I have to say that for a first release, this is an excellent effort.  The Hit Back have done well with these ten songs, and if, like me, you’re waiting for The Postal Service to release another great record, this will fill the void nicely.  This is definitely worth picking up, or downloading from iTunes, if you prefer.

Eric Landfried 3/21/11

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