His & Her Vanities are doing their damnedest to revive a revival. They aren’t failing, either.
I reckon we’re far enough removed–barely–from the recent post-punk/garage rock exhumation to see copycat bands floating in its ever-abating wake. Make no mistake about H&HV, however; though their self-titled 2002 record and follow-up, 2004’s A Thought Process, didn’t quite top charts, H&HV were spiritually shoulder-to-shoulder with the first wave of rebirthers, churning out moody chunks of vaguely-retro guitar rock. These two releases garnered comparisons to acts like Devo and the Pixies, but The Mighty Lunge smooths out their angular irregularities into a sound somewhat Strokesy and more easily listened.
More than time (five years!) separates A Thought Process and The Mighty Lunge. H&HV bloomed in 2001 from nighttime basement collaborations between Ricky and Terrin Riemer while their son slumbered, and the time since 2004 has seen them add yet another youngster to the family. Science of Sound, the label initially launched to press their own music, has also grown, now sporting acts such as fellow popsters Pale Young Gentlemen and Sleeping in the Aviary.
With kids to foster, widespread touring appears an impossibility, so H&HV instead opt to condense all the energy and efficiency of a whole schedule of lives shows into a single disc. A Thought Process exorcised much of the debut’s sloppiness, and this record is a step further, each song sounding complete in its own right. Together, though, the eight tracks function even more cohesively, portraiting characters of frustration and desperation (the cute yet catastrophic album art reflects these feelings as it continues to the back of the digipack to reveal the front to be a stick figure’s bad dream). This is pop to be experienced through headphones, obsessively, and with the blinds half-drawn. Pretty and unpretentious, but upset.
The band’s Myspace page offers a few streamable tracks. Go check out “Hits Like Hail” and “Wait It Out.”