erasing clouds

The Hermit Crabs, Saw You Dancing and Feel Good Factor EP

reviewed by dave heaton

There’s a sweet simplicity to The Hermit Crabs’ music which I appreciate. Their debut album Saw You Dancing has 10 songs, at maybe a half-hour in length. But more than that it’s their music itself that’s simple and sweet: A singer with a pretty voice over breezy guitar-pop with a light folk slant, partly via violin. Handclaps here, harmonies there. Song-speeds from slow to mid-tempo. No flashy surprises or tricks, just songs. Songs about friends, about love, about what to do with your evenings, about the band’s hometown of Glasgow, Scotland.

My favorite songs form a trio at the album’s center. There’s “Lean, Free Summer”, with its vision of an idyllic summer spent hanging out with friends, free from responsibilities, though loneliness remains as an undercurrent. There’s “Bad Thing”, where dense guitar gives a slight rock edge but a pretty violin break lightens it. And the bouncy “Friend’s Folk Festival”, about the “what to do tonight?” question but really about a complicated secret love. Those songs all have a sense of despair and worry underneath, showing even the simplest pleasures are never that simple.

Saw You Dancing was preceded by a 4-song EP, with the album track “Feel Good Factor” plus three more songs that carry that same sense of simple but not simplistic. A “carefree” ballad actually ends the EP with a wicked mood hovering in the air.


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