Cut Off Your Hands – Hollow

Rating: ★★★★ ·

With their first album, You & I, you sort of had the feeling that New Zealand outfit Cut Off Your Hands might have been yearning for the British Isles, but with their release of Hollow, the band has completed their maturation, giving fans a full-on venture into the sounds of the Oceanic region of the world.

“You Should Do Better” begins with a rolling drum beat, and chiming guitars, before Nick Johnston’s vocals soar above it all.  Sure, people will hear remnants of the Smiths influence, but I hear Lucksmiths delivery, and the sharpness of the guitars employed by the Go-Betweens. Trust me, these are all good things.  It’s furthered with “Nausea,” the second track on the record, where the chorus has this incredible melody that totally beats out anything the band has done to date (no offense fellas).

What might stand in the way for some of the long-time fans of Cut Off Your Hands is that the energy is markably different on this outing, in comparison to past works.  Where you once found sharpness and angular cuts of the knife, the band has slowed things down, clearing the way for much warmer guitar sounds.  Don’t get confused here, as the guitars on tracks like “Hollowed Out” definitely maintain an edge and brightness, but instead of forcing riff into riff, the guitars ring loudly throughout Hollow, providing listeners with a sound that has much more durability.

Still, there are several tracks available for those looking for a quicker pace, and the group’s more traditional sound.  “Fooling No One” bounces in your ear, before the vocals swing in to provide that melodic approach the band rely upon.  This is much more of a stomper than anything up to this point on Hollow. They follow it up with “Down and Out,” which relies upon ringing guitar chords in the background to provide that energetic punch you’re begging for the band to give you.  Both tracks show the band still has what it takes to offer powerful pop gems with bits of fuel behind them.  Just because you clean things up, doesn’t mean you can’t unleash a good solid rocker, right?

When they close out this album with “Buried,” it’s the perfect summation of Hollow.  The track is drawn out slowly, though with the guitars maintaining their melodic sharpness.  Johnston slowly works his way through his vocals, caring to emphasize every emotional point in your listening experience.  Much like this song, the entire new record from Cut Off Your Hands is a bit of a slower burn, with longer songs, allowing the band to get the maximum quality out of all nine tracks.  If anything, their maturity displays the group’s songwriting capabilities, giving listeners an experience that will surely leave a lasting impression.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Cut-Off-Your-Hands-You-Should-Do-Better.mp3]

Download: Cut Off Your Hands – You Should Do Better [MP3]

New Single from Cut Off Your Hands

When news came a few weeks back that Cut Off Your Hands were going to have a new record, I expected sort of angular post-rock, like their debut.  But, the more I listen Hollow Out, which hits stores on August 16th via Frenchkiss, the more I realize I couldn’t be further from the truth of it.  There’s definitely a Brit-pop feel to this latest single, letting you know that the band’s willing to explore all sorts of territory on this latest effort.  And, if you’re into what you’re hearing, then be sure to go grab their 2008 Happy As Can Be EP for free right HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/04-Hollowed-Out.mp3]

Download: Cut Off Your Hands – Hollowed Out [MP3

New Tune from Cut Off Your Hands

For some reason I passed on this song when MOKB ran it, but I guess that was just a bit of laziness on my part, as I love Cut Off Your Hands.  Official news came today that the band will be releasing their newest record, Hollow, on August 16th via Frenchkiss Records, the label that put out their previous effort.  The press release talks of Nick Johnston sort of hitting a wall, and going back to those records of simple joy, which helped him find his way back to solid footing with his own songwriting. The track below definitely has an Oceania vibe to it, reminiscent of my all time favorite, The Go-Betweens.  It does sound a lot less angular and British, which, in my opinion, is going to make this record incredible.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Cut-Off-Your-Hands-You-Should-Do-Better.mp3]

Download: Cut Off Your Hands – You Should Do Better [MP3]