Handwritings: ‘boring, dumb & fine’
BY BLAINE EWIG
In Handwritings’ first album, lo-fi indie rock is brought back to its roots with sounds akin to those of Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. With prominent and purposeful feedback, they take what many listeners might perceive as flaws and make them into strengths. In Handwritings’ first album, lo-fi indie rock is brought back to its roots with sounds akin to those of Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. With prominent and purposeful feedback, they take what many listeners might perceive as flaws and make them into strengths. Something about them seems effortless, and there is an air of authenticity around them that is often so hard to find. It sounds as though their supply of energy and spunk is endless. What Handwritings does isn’t necessarily new or groundbreaking, but they stand as a breath of honest fresh air in the sea of contrived pretense that indie rock can sometimes be.
Handwritings’ album “boring, dumb, & fine,” released on Feb. 12, sounds like what you might imagine a college student’s room to look like. Messy, yet somehow still comfortable and charming. For most of the album, we hear nasally vocals groan atop quick drumbeats and responsive guitar sounds. The overall tone of the album is one of angst – but not in a bad way.
The first track, “grow up, chuck,” sounds like a standard indie rock song, while “standard me” hints at Handwritings’ punk roots with short and decisive vocal exclamations and driving drums. The songs “other guys” and “goose steps” stand out as catchy, high energy songs. In “other guys,” the structure of the verse creates a relaxed atmosphere, and the chorus is jumpy and exciting. “goose steps” remains relatively energetic throughout. “no wet feet” lulls along until the end of the track, where we are confronted with explosive noise of the punk persuasion. “again! again! again!” comes across as a solid homage to Sonic Youth-esque noise rock.
The last track on the album, “party eulogy,” sums up the themes of “boring, dumb, & fine” rather well. Over vibrant guitar and crashing drums, the phrases I’m too old for this shit and Tell me quickly/ Is there something wrong with me? are repeated. “party eulogy” is exactly that; the epitaph of reckless young adult angst and confusion. Yet, we are still left with the ultimate question of where to go next.
“boring, dumb, & fine” is the type of album that you should listen to with your friends on a Friday night while you throw back a few beers, and I suggest you do so.
You can listen to Handwritings’ new album on their bandcamp website.