Release Date: Sep 21, 2010
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic
With a trajectory built on buzz, a slew of EPs and signing to bastion of all things uniquely beautiful, Warp Records, The Hundred in the Hands doesn’t initially appear to be mould-breaking stuff. But then, Eleanore Everdell and Jason Friedman don’t seem to be playing by exactly the same rules as their Brooklyn peers. You only need to take a quick glance at the wilfully succinct biography on their MySpace page to realise that there is a simplicity, a lack of pretention in how they go about their business that almost gives a faux sacrilegious impression of humility considering their Brooklyn heritage.
If you've already heard of the Hundred in the Hands, chances are you fell in love with their debut one-off single, Dressed In Dresden, two summers ago. For years, that huge fucking tease of a track was the Brooklyn dance-punk duo's only output. Blame guitarist Jason Friedman being in the Boggs and vocalist Eleanore Everdell's collabs with TV on the Radio.
Some records seem made for the city. In this little century, you could trace it back to Kid A—somehow, the blending of slick electronics with sharp-toothed rock elements creates a decidedly urban atmosphere, one equal parts mechanically eerie and futuristically thrilling. The Hundred in the Hands live in Brooklyn, which isn’t surprising in itself, but the band seems to capture the energy of a pulsating, at least moderately dystopian 21st century urban center.
Based on the Hundred in the Hands' debut EP for Warp, This Desert, the band could have gone in two different directions for its first full-length. The duo could have gone deeper into the experimental leanings shown on some songs, or the sleek disco-pop displayed on others. For their self-titled debut, they chose the latter -- with mixed results. Jason Friedman and Eleanore Everdell worked with pop mega-producer Richard X, among others, which explains the album’s sleeker, slicker feel, while louder guitars, the occasional live drums, and more aggressive synths add a sharper, and more mainstream, edge.
"Competent" is the word that comes to mind when discussing singer Eleanore Everdell and Jason Friedman's debut full-length as the Hundred in the Hands. Over the course of 41 minutes, the NYC duo deliver slice after slice of buzzy, dancey new wave, with little fanfare or provocation; there's something to admire in how capably they capture their genre's most crowd-pleasing signifiers. In a musical culture when artists are sometimes awarded points just for showing up, these two come to the party dressed to the nines, with a few bottles of (tastefully presented) booze and their genre's most crowd-pleasing, familiar signifiers to share.
Brooklyn duo’s debut is certainly worthy of some of the hype that’s preceded it. Mischa Pearlman 2010 Hailing from – where else? – Brooklyn, The Hundred in the Hands are – what else? – a boy-girl duo who make sultry, electronic dance-pop. Already making their name on the blogosphere, this eponymous debut album arrives swathed in hype and expectation; though, thanks to fellow Brooklyn-based boy-girl electro-pop duo Sleigh Bells, there’s perhaps less than there may otherwise have been.