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A review of We Hold Hands and We Jump

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We Hold Hands and We Jump
We Hold Hands and We Jump
Endless Bummer
www.whhawj.bandcamp.com

We Hold Hands and We Jump is an “anonymous” songwriter in Pittsburgh whose music teeters from traditional acoustic singer/songwriter to bedroom pop to early-2000s emo. His latest self-titled effort shows his range regarding concepts of love and pained self-examination.

At times the album feels too ambitious, with cacophonous activity swirling in at unexpected moments. The bedroom-recording feel keeps it somewhat contained, which stifles the chance for big movements to shine.

That being said, the arrangements are smart, and WHHAWJ manages to hold interest even for songs that last up to 10 minutes. Some of the most beautiful moments are found in these longer tracks, like “Shichikokuyama.” The song begins with warm acoustic guitar and the quiet sound of cicadas chirping in the background. The cicadas return when WWHAWJ poses the gentle question, “How long before the bender starts to break?”, before beginning a grand-piano outro drenched in fuzz. It’s touches like these, cicadas and fuzzy room recordings, that make the album novel and intimate.

WWHAWJ also has a gift for dramatic flair. It appears with “Romance,” in which desperate, earnest vocals mingle with layers of horns, synth and distorted guitar. It returns to finish off the album with “Love Is …,” which riffs on Bette Midler’s “The Rose,” with a youthful, lovesick angst that resolves itself into bittersweet acceptance.

It’s clear WWHAWJ is a songwriter who’s not afraid to show his neck and be vulnerable, nor is he afraid to take musical risks, which mostly pay off.

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