Hands on Heads, Hands on Heads

Alex Naidus

By Alex Naidus

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Get in. Get dizzy. Get out. That's the slashed-up synth-pop gameplan of London's Hands on Heads, a quartet whose hyper-caffeinated songs hover around the one-minute mark. There is method, though: doses of frantic keyboard skronk quickly give way to bouncy singalongs, often several times in the same song. And don't say they didn't warn you: raucous blurt of an album opener "Is An Umbrella Really Necessary?" lasts all of 35 seconds. No wave don't mean no fun.

Four Londoners create gloriously spazzy synth pop.

Erase Errata's mangled guitar scratches, the one-finger keyboard jabs of Numbers and even the wacked-out, life-affirming synth anthems of Atom and His Package echo across Hands on Heads. But it's neither tribute or regurgitation, as the songs — which they say are about "righteous joy" and "the supernatural everyday" — pummel while showing whimsy, even as they buzzsaw your skull. Check the descending bizzaro-carnival organ line on "Romantic Aorta" or the punk-playground anthem "X as Two Sticks," that galloping squall of a verse stopping on a dime for a surprisingly sing-songy chorus. Totally (Melt) bananas.

Through it all, Luke and Christopher (the bassist and guitarist who split vocal duties) yelp wide-eyed about not wanting to be alone, "drawing triangles on the walls" and other gloriously sincere teenagisms. On the sprawling (almost-three minutes!) "Witches & Lightning" (a demo we talked them into giving us because it's so awesome), we're told, "Right now/ I believe in you more/ Than facts and figures."

We're just surprised that they bought into facts and figures in the first place.