Album Review//Just Handshakes - Say It

The art school like cover art to Just Handshakes’ album Say It is something you can’t help stare at. If you’re in the habit of looking at the jacket of your music before taking it off for listening then it’s entirely possible to look at this sleeve and have no clue what the contents are like. And that’s we love about it – it stands as a contemplative piece of pencil art and perhaps contains a subtle hint of the ingredients of the album. Only a listen can truly tell…

Indeed, when the album opens with the loop listenable London Bound – which we first heard by sheer coincidence when on the way to London – and it’s an introduction that impresses. There’s an atmospheric intro, the vocals peeping almost nervously out of the mix like a very beautiful something, and then the chorus hits, with its energetic lo-fi power. On the whole album it’s arguably one of the best moments – a song that captures the sheer emotions of going to a city as cool as London.

The rest of the album takes a similar approach - choruses that creep out of the audio mix like the most pleasant surprise possible. A comfortable melancholia hangs over the recordings and whilst the production keeps things tight, the music speaks of a certain freedom in its often bare styling’s. The album’s title track is a prime example, the guitar and vocals speaking in a sad unison that transcends the whole relationship themed subject of the song completely.

Other highlights include Beat pop meets Lo Fi perfection of Dead and Alive and Stick Around, a song that brims with a burning musicality and a chorus that builds up in steps, almost like the footsteps towards a mysterious room. On the whole Say It is a melancholic journey from A to B and as you listen more you’ll notice those little touches that make it all the more rewarding.

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan.

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