Howard Hello

EP (Temporary Residence)

Jun 1, 2005 at 4:00 am
Kenseth Thibideau and Marty Anderson are normally Howard Hello, but this little four-song outing is just Thibideau's baby. Anderson, who plays twisted folk tunes as Lazarus, was busy working on another musical endeavor at the time this EP was being created and gave Thibideau the thumbs-up to proceed without him. Thibideau, who has spent his time making avant-ambient rock with Tarentel, prog-metal with Sleeping People and bedroom-pop with Pinback, has proven his ability to make interesting music across many genres. EP is further proof of this, as it mixes the electronically manipulated folk of the first Howard Hello record with the poppier bliss of their second, Don't Drink His Blood. The opening track, "More of the Same," has a catchy groove and a light feel that would be at home on a Pinback record, but the song's purposefully repetitive structure makes it something else entirely. Thibideau keeps the track lively by piling layer upon layer of electronics and by occasionally switching up the vocal melody. It's an interesting experiment that's surprisingly successful. The next track, "Interlude," is straightforward blissful ambience -- it's full of gentle static, ethereal female vocals and twinkling guitar. Some listeners might gripe that "Follow" pulls the exact same trick as "More of the Same," but its slower, stomping groove manages to create an altogether different effect. The last track, the gentle "Even More of the Same," is a near-perfect outro. Overall, EP is a well-paced release that maintains a good feel throughout its twenty minutes, and it will be interesting to see where Howard Hello goes from here.