Sunday, December 6, 2009

Right Hand Blue, Left Hand Red

So I've recently written about a group out of New York City with the name Left on Red, and at first glance, this group's name, Left Hand Red, is eerily similar and begs the question if they're just a ripoff band of Left on red (though how you could ripoff their unique sound is a bit beyond me). But the minute these guys crash into their first song on their set-list, I know that it must be just a coincidence at their name similarity.
Out of Brighton, England, U.K., Left Hand Red is a garage-rock, indie-rock experience that will leave you wanting more. Most definitely. Composed of Dan Scully (vocals), Darren Cook (guitar), Barry Bloye (bass and vocals), and Russell Pilfold (drums), LHR's sound combines the melody of The Posies with the forcity and garage-rock funk of The White Stripes.
From their new recording, the Rope Burn E.P., the first track I listen to is the title track. Starting with an alternative guitar riff from Darren Cook, Bloye and Pilfold soon join in on a garage rock rhythm that already sets LHR aopart from other alternarive-rock stylings. Scully's vocals here hover between Pixies and The Posies, while drawing on the bass lines of The Vines and The Strokes. Pilfold's drumming is eerily reminiscent of David Lovering's, making use of the Pixies' loud-quiet-loud dynamic while Scully is, at the same time, appealing to the melodic vocals sounds of The Posies and Smashing Pumpkins. The stripped down sound of the song, though, based very much in Cook's garage-rock guitar riffs and feedback, and Bloye's front-and-center bass lines, gives the track a unique quality that seems unreached since the big garage-rock revivals of the '90s with The White Stripes and The Hives.
The second track from the EP, ""Eagle Road," makes me think even more of the Pixies, but not in the way it did before. While the Pixies influence in the last song was due mostly to the sound dynamic, here it is based solely on the blending of Scully's stripped down vocals with a very melodic guitar progression. Cook has abandoned the sole guitar-feedback sound in favor of a more melodic and tuneful riff which holds a melody all of its own, and blends with Scully's vocals perfectly. In fact, at parts, it seems like Cook's notes dabble a little in ska-punk influences. Meanwhile, Bloye's bass lines are heard throughout, providing a solid stage for the guitar and vocals in a most Krist Novaselic fashion. The bass lines do not exist all on their own, but meld with Pilfold's tom and cymbal hits to create a unique rhythm section. The real jem of this song though, what sets it apart from so many others, is its almost solid stop about 2/3 of the way through. Here, Pilfold stops immediately, and playing on a brand new guitar riff that Cook lays down, builds in slowly with Bloye's bass notes. On top, Scully sings in an almost meditative tone, and it's a surreal experience. Then the drums and bass rev up, and we're shot to the end of the riff that brought us in. A solid track, and one I'd definitely shop around to a label.
The last track I listen to on the EP set-list is "Make a Killing," an eery track that is clealry Vines and White Stripes inspired. With creepy, almost drowned-out vocals from Scully (which seem like a throwback to Kurt Cobain's almost oblique vocals in Nirvana), Cook experiments with his guitar chords, going from a heavy, grunge-like riff to clear notes that just wipe the rust from my ears. Mean while, Pilfold's drumming seems minimalist here, but it works perfectly with Bloye's pumping bass notes, and when I get to the 2/3 mark, I'm floored by Cook's guitar once again. This song in particular has a grunge ambience to it, almost like Soundgarden or Mudhoney, and that's a unique quality I wouldn't trade for anything. then it just stops, and it is a solid wrap-up to a phenominal set-list. Definitely check these guys out. They're experiemental, alternative sound will bring together all those who like The White Stripes, The Hives and The Vines with those who rock out to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and the Pixies. Absolutely brilliant.

Sounds Like: The White Stripes, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pixies, The Posies, The Vines

Key Tracks from Rope Burn E.P.: "Rope Burn," "Eagle Road," "Make a Killing"

Check out Left Hand Red more at: and

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