The sixth album from Seattle indie pop outfit Say Hi (To Your Mom), is economically built up from the basics of the guitar-drums-bass formula, feeling perfectly balanced and focused across ten brief tracks. Oohs and Aahs maintains a frothy forward momentum throughout, driven by throttled bass lines, eclectic synths and Eric Elbogen’s ricochet vocals.
Handclaps, muted strings and vibrant organ rips underscore Elbogen’s plain-speak, lovelorn imagery on tracks like “The Stars Just Blink For Us,” where he sings in half-sentences and unfinished thoughts, “Oh and the stars they don’t make a fuss / Oh and the stars, they just blink for us.”
Elbogen’s warbled vocal delivery establishes a delicate point of view as he narrates tentative romantic encounters and unexpected bursts of giddy energy. “Audrey” is a snippet of bubbling keyboard noise and tumbling drums, perfectly concise in its momentary emotionality. “Hallie and Henry” is the album’s energetic peak, with mathematically precise electric guitar chunks and outcast, underage lovesick protagonists that breaks into a nearly undecipherable bombast of bleating, reverberated vocals and crashing cymbals: an ecstatic moment of hopeful and lovely messiness.
The heartbreaking ramblings of an unrequited affair on “Maurine” crescendo into a throbbing, defeated farewell wish for a pleasant party: “I hope it goes well and I hope you dance good and I hope you got presents that make you pretty happy / And I hope you grow old and I hope that you find somebody nice.” Elbogen’s album feels like a call to arms for the bashfully uninvited, melancholy and hopeful and far and away the high point so far for the prolific indie rocker.
Favorite Track: “Hallie and Henry”
Reviewer Bio - Christopher j Ewing is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles with a girl and a designer dog. He is in a band by himself, has a myspace account at www.myspace.com/wastedpotentialproduction and a production company at (www.wastedpotentialproductions.com) for freelance film, video and journalism work.