Handsome and the Humbles – ‘Gerbil In the Wild’ EP

Tennessee-based band Handsome and the Humbles take an enjoyable departure on new EP Gerbil In the Wild, embracing a more left-field fusing of synth-laden pop and rock — compared to their usual alt-country and roots-rock flair.

“Let Freedom Ring” opens with intrigue, emitting a title-referencing refrain amidst sludgy guitar tones that evolve into a twangy warmness. Spacey synths add beautifully to the soundscape. “My pistol will protect me,” the vocal lets out, following with the “freedom,” refrain for thematic effect — exploring the hypocrisies and anxieties within those who use patriotism/nationalism as fuel for fear of the other. Bluesy guitar tones inject a sweltering allure to conclude this memorable kick-off to the EP.

The EP’s title track follows, assuming a retrospective lyrical disposition alongside a debonair vocal presentation. A hooky expanse brings forth spirited synth bursts, as the vocals maintain a laid-back fervor prior to a pitch-descending, choir-set intrigue. “Aren’t we all children?” the vocals ask, sweltering into a charismatic array of electrified guitars; the result is a concise yet effective success. Also compelling is the finale “The Wedding Song (Ezekiel’s Lament),” where funky guitar spurts and tongue-in-cheek vocal spurts combine for further stylishness. The Gerbil In the Wild EP is a blast of a listening experience from Handsome and the Humbles.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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