The new album by electronic dance-punkers Out Hud, Let Us Never Speak Of It Again, is an album which will either be loved or hated; the band has gone through quite the transformation since their critically-acclaimed debut S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D.. However, the result is rather stunning, and those reluctant to change should really try to find it within themselves to give this a chance, for it is a fine piece of work.
Gone are the darker, more repetitive jams found on Out Hud's debut. The songs found on Let Us Never Speak Of It Again are infinitely more accessible, and generally sound much brighter than the band's sound of old. Instead of epic tunes replaying what was essentially the same pattern over and over again (not that that produced bad results), the band has turned to a more concise, interesting approach to their songwriting. There are ten songs to be found here, and many of them end around the four or five-minute mark. This can be attributed to the most obvious of changes to the band's formulas: vocals. And female vocals at that.
Of course, it's easy to be a skeptic and gawk at the addition of vocals. Surprisingly, the voices of drummer Phyllis Forbes and cellist Molly Schnick complement the music quite well; they add somewhat of a poppier element to the bass and drum-heavy rhythms, and they make the songs much more enjoyable to boot. Had these songs remained strictly instrumental, they would probably immediately be dismissed as boring or pretentious, for they could not possibly work by themselves.
Regardless of how nice the vocals sound, I cannot complete this review giving credit only to that one aspect of what is truly a complete sound. The bass work on Let Us Never Speak Of It Again is out of this world; check out the slap bass on the album's top track, "How Long," and the !!!-esque riff on the album's first single, "One Life To Leave," for proof. The percussion is also top-notch, ranging from a track chock full of innumerable tom beats ("The Song So Good They Named It Thrice") to rapid-fire, almost rave-sounding drum rhythms ("The Stoked American"). Out Hud have truly refined their sound on this album, and the results are better than most anyone could have expected.
My only complaint is that the album is a tad hard to sit through in one sitting, due to the length of some songs. Note that this isn't due to repetition, because even the lengthier songs have riffs that build off of and on top of one another, creating an explosive sound. Aside from that, I feel that this album should be enjoyed by most, especially if you want some extremely fun music to listen to. It'll be exciting to see where Out Hud takes it from here, and hopefully this isn't the peak for this excellent band.
- "How Long"
- "One Life To Leave"
- "2005: A Face Odyssey"
- "The Stoked American"