Burning Birthdays EP
[Independent - Feb. 6th]
*Sixeyes Score: 9.0 out of 10
The first time I heard the Harlem Shakes I was struck by how distinctive their sound was, and while Lexy Benaim's voice is the main focal point, the band churn up a great weave of a backdrop for that voice. In the past they've generated an excited burbling in some corners of the internet, but they should set things a-buzzing with the self-release of their first EP, Burning Birthdays on February 6th.
The new EP delivers five tracks, four new and the fifth a re-recorded version of "Sickos". That redone song is reason enough to buy the EP, a fantastic piece of pop music, "Sickos" used to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the band's output, but now it has a few friends to keep it company. Namely "Carpetbaggers" and "Old Flames". Also, track number 2 bears mentioning as well, "Red Right Hands" with it's sweet hook and whirling organ. This band can shiver and shake like The Walkmen, but without the near overpowering intensity of Walkmen vocalist Hamilton Leithauser; Benaim is softly seductive with a sugary upper register that often feels fragile. The sound is hard to pin down with regards to references, but then this is an indication to how original they sound on record. The music pours out of the speakers, Benaim's unique vocals wonderfully matched with Todd Goldstein's inventive guitar work, while both are bolstered by a tight rhythm section. These are five strong tracks, but the record closes with a taste of things to come, perhaps. That final track, "Old Flames", is trademark Harlem Shakes, the band harmonizing while Benaim and Goldstein put their stamp on the song, but this one stretches out over the final minute into a mini-epic with the harmonies riding a galloping guitar into a bright promising future for the Harlem Shakes.
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Burning Birthdays EP Tracklist
2. Red Right Hands
3. Felt Wings
5. Old Flames
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