In First Person - Lost Between Hands Held Tight (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

In First Person

Lost Between Hands Held Tight (2006)


While this quaint little three-piece from Philadelphia, PA contains ex-members of You and I, the Assistant and A Petal Fallen, what really caught my eye is an even more obscure band listed in their pedigree: Pyramids. A couple of you might remember some lavish praise I gave to that particularly stunning act, and how I named their album the best released last year. So naturally I was pretty excited to give In First Person's Lost Between Hands Held Tight a loving spin. And while just hearing Benn Roe's perfectly panicked, distressing voice would probably be enough for me, the veteran chops of his bandmates are always there to make sure I'm in good Hands.

Additionally, while In First Person certainly play a similarly abrasive style of raw, yet focused emotional hardcore, they're no Pyramids Part II. Pyramids' chillingly breathtaking post-rock somberness is traded in for thick, choking, heavily intense offerings, like "Kanye West Was Right" (which does actually make direct talk about and criticism of the government's slow reaction to Katrina). That song in particular shows a complex vocal interplay involving drummer Vanessa Espinal in a similar vein to Circle Takes the Square -- this release of anxiety also collapses upon the end of the disc in "Deconstructing the I/It," and it sounds great. She also lends some lead talents to the keyboard-tinged, much more relaxed "...And Time Is Running Out," which sounds a little like what would happen if portions of Boys Night Out's Trainwreck was given the Gravity Records touch. Or maybe it's more of a cross between 1905's flexibility and Nakatomi Plaza's dynamic chemistry.

What's great is, instead of rehashing Benn Roe's other band's way of offsetting intensity -- channeling Envy's ethereal post-rock instrumentals -- that's how they do it on Hands: with sweet female vocals, or in the case of the aforementioned "Deconstructing the I/It," temporarily sweeping guitars and pulsating basslines (I'm thinking middle-era On the Might of Princes here). And when they choose the "no bullshit" approach, it's pretty serious; "Alfred Hitchcock" seriously pounds with a meaty hardcore stomp á la 108. But no how matter how the intensity is pent up, delivered, and reflected upon, it's always varied, and always impressive, especially with repeated listens.

The Beast
Alfred Hitchcock

Kanye West Was Right
Deconstructing the I/It