The Hundred In The Hands - Red Night

A passable if disappointing montage of mid-tempo electro-pop.

Label: Warp Records

Rating: 4

The hype that surrounded Brooklyn duo Hundred In The Hands’ 2010 debut was, if you were to evaluate the band based on this second release, ‘Red Night’, slightly misplaced.

Starting off with the excellent ‘Empty Stations’, the standout track amongst the album’s ten, those initial comparisons to hometown peers Sleigh Bells would appear well justified. On the face of it the two bands share a similar approach to their music - generally incredibly loud though rarely in the aggressive sense. Yet whereas Sleigh Bells delight in their hyperactive pop-thrash, Hundred In The Hands quickly shy away from the album’s initial bullishness, much to the bands detriment.

Pounding beats and electro fizz take precedence over guitars on the album’s highlights, the aforementioned ‘Empty Stations’ and ‘Come With Me’ which recalls Garbage in their heyday, albeit somewhat louder and colder in feel. Frequently, it’s the slower and more conventional songs that let the album down. The eerie six minute ‘Red Night’ is double the length it needs to be, it’s steely coolness coming across more boring than sexy.

Part of the issue lies in Eleanore Everdell’s vocals, which if you believe what you’ve read elsewhere, sounds a lot like Karen O (which she does) and more often than not lean heavily towards nonchalance, which works only to highlight the uneven tone between songs. ‘Keep It Low’ and ‘Tunnels’ are lazy Ladyhawke castoffs - itself not such a problem if you knew the band weren’t capable of being such a different and frankly, more exciting beast.

The second half of ‘Red Night’ passes by with very little sense of identity or direction, the album itself a case of something that could have been so much more given an injection of urgency and a reprisal of its early promise. As it stands it is a passable if disappointing montage of mid-tempo electro-pop that flirts dangerously close to dull trip-hop.