January 29, 2009

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Cut Off Your Hands, You & I
Frenchkiss Records, Jan. 20

A tad early yet, but you’ll probably see this band scoring high when year-end best-of-2009s start rolling around. Already one of the who’s-who bands in the alt-rock space of their home country, these four New Zealanders have opened for Love Is All, Bloc Party, We Are Scientists, you get the idea, and so I expected a letdown of epic proportions, the usual suicidal silliness in an age where hey, man, nobody has the guts to spend their possibly last few bucks on, let’s face it, nebulously inspired bands like the three cited above.

If you’re old enough to have actual worries, perhaps you remember when Tears for Fears compared themselves to The Beatles. What COYH has done is packed everything decent (er, I mean good; er, I mean don’t be so picky) about ’80s post-pop (which of course is the chicken-out’s way of saying “pretty much new wave”), tweaked it a little and unleashed it with panache, dead-seriousness and — what the heck is this stuff — exuberance.

Wow. Hooks, big fat ones, dangling out of a cloud of Cure vs. Call vs. Police; Franz Ferdinand copying Buzzcocks (“Turn Cold”); Big Country in a rumble with the Constantines. Holy crow. Buy. A+Eric W. Saeger