Cut Off Your Hands
New Zealand’s Cut Off Your Hands splices achingly pretty harmonies and luminous guitar jangles over a vaguely anxious foundation of rhythmic propulsion. They sound very much like the mid-1980s bands that softened and romanticized post-punk (and, incidentally, made it commercially viable): late-period Echo & The Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs and The Cure.
Consider “Hollowed Out,” for instance, the quasi-title track. It’s a dead ringer for Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar” in the way it layers shimmering, chiming gauzes of guitar sound and swoony choruses over the slumberous eighth-note pulse of bass. Singer Nick Johnston, surrounded by echo, takes the stance of a doomed romantic hero looking over into the abyss (without, it must be said, a single hair out of place). He works only the barest trace of yelp or snarl into his smooth vocalizations, adding drama by blowing out the vowels like Morrissey in great sweeping, self-indulgent arcs. And yet, god damn it, it works. The song is pure eyelinered, early-MTV’d sturm und drang, and a total pleasure all the way through.
And, just for fun, the Echo & the Bunnymen track that "Hollowed Out" most reminds me of...