erasing clouds

The Hermit Crabs, Correspondence Course

review by dave heaton

The Hermit Crabs’ new EP presents the perfect mix of sweetness and melancholy, within breeze, bouncy, melodic music. Lead singer Melanie Whittle has a way of sounding sad even when singing upbeat lyrics, like the opening line to the first song, “About You Before” – “have you every felt this good before?” On that song, the music has a certain sternness, but with gentle strings that form sensitive support. It’s a young love story. She sings, “don’t let me down”, and you know that letting-down either will or has happened.

In “Correspondence Course” the relationship seems less prone to disappointment, but you never know. Here the mystery and emotions of music are the bond of the relationship: “play me something that I don’t already know.” Possibly the first indie-pop song to run the band names Lynyrd Skynyrd and This Mortal Coil together in a lyric, its musical pleasures are as strong as those detailed in the lyrics. There’s a great guitar-solo-led surge towards the end.

Within this compact EP of four well-built pop songs, there’s a storyline of the past, of relationships…one summed up by the last song’s lyrics about “time-honored reasons for loving and not leaving.” The song, “I Don’t Know How” starts with promises and then the breaking of them. The most upbeat-sounding song, it offers awe at the ways heartbreak does not upend love: “cold-hearted lovers get warm under covers / I don’t know how.”


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