Hijk: The Pen And The Letter - Indie Music Review
HIJK makes a uniquely addictive indie pop-like sound with their debut album: The Pen and The Letter. Their style is that of a large quilt made up of various patches that vary in size in color...it's sort-of an experimental work. They easily borrow unique sounds that superimpose into one chaotic symphony of organized chaos, something I like to call "experimental rock". I can tell you from an observational standpoint...it works. The band members include: Mike Mahony: vocals, bass, keyboards; Dave Tsui: vocals, guitar, bass; and Trevor Wencl on the drums & percussion. Yep, that's it...just three members make up this unique band. For what they lack in band size, however, they make up in talent...and it is immense. The album starts out with "Ailbi", a finely crafted song that makes use of its guitars. It's spacey feel will make you sway your head thanks to some great guitar strumming. It's acoustic/rock sound works well. Whistle While You Work is another guitar strumming orgy. The song starts out oh-so-softy then breaks into a melodic trance of strums and intense beats. Then the vocals hit us with a cool chant that makes us question our originality after being immersed in a world full of falsehoods and mediocrity. It's no coincidence why the song is entitled "Whistle While You Work" --its chicken soup for the average stressed-out working Joe n' Jane. This song will have even the most non-indie pop fans bopping their heads. Smells like Cigarettes is an interesting piece that mixes both vocalists in an amusing but relevant piece. September Looms on a Hill is your boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy lies to girl to make her happy tale that we can all relate to. The song is well done and can match the likes of any Fall out Boy or Panic at the Disco song. Writers Block is a soulful melodic song with vocal melodies reminiscent to, dare I say...The Beatles. It has that sixties, aural feel to it--we can thank the piano melody for that. We can sense the "writer's block" occurring in our artists head as he messes up the calm melody at the midpoint, followed by a frustrating exhale. It's clever and it works. Moving into the instrumental category we fall into a jet stream of rock goodness with Groove Jet, a fine display of the trio's talent. I nearly forgot this was an alternative rock album. My favorite song on the album, Center of Things , is a mix of styles that translate into a great audio experience. The subject is, without a doubt, about a girl. It starts of in a hectic storm-like pace then slows down into a peaceful hum. Then the audio splits and we hear a heavenly strum along with a soft voice singing: "A brother's afraid to live today...heeeey". It's as if we are in the eye of a hurricane. As we slowly move away from the storm's calm eye, we hear a deafening thud. The musical chaos picks up then resides. Then the calming guitar strum builds up yet again, until.....the song abruptly ends. It's bittersweet. Hey Sleepy Smile is a fine conclusion to this great album. Its "over the prairie-like" sound is that of a sun rising over a bayou. You will be held into the message and calming effect of this lovely tract. Considering the fact that HIJK took a couple of months to construct this album, it is not surprising that The Pen and the Letter is so well done. It breathes creativity and originality. The whole album interweaves between different sounds and concepts. It is a breath of fresh air. My only gripe, and it's minor-don't worry-is that on small amount of tracks, the vocals don't sound as crisp as they should. This was perhaps done to give a garage band-like effect on the few tracks, but it's minor and barely noticeable. Overall, The Pen and the Letter is definitely worth checking out. HIJK's unique experimental sound boasts their creativity and determination for great music. Their sound is as professional as it gets; just try not to act so surprised if you spot them on an MTV music countdown. EbbnFlow
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