A persistent cold rain taps the window while the trees shake it off with the blowing breeze. But you sit comfortably warm in your living room. Feet warming by the fire. Belly warming by a glass of your favorite brown liquor. Ears and soul warming by the new Hand Habits’ album, Wildly Idle (Humbly Before the Void).
It fills the empty void of sound in the room pleasantly enough. As your mind grows heavy with thoughts of the day, it almost passes by without notice. Then it grabs you. Maybe it was the angelic harp-like strum from “Actress.” It could have been the softened “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”-esque building progression of “In Between.” Or perhaps it was the gentle hook and groove in “All the While.” Regardless, it grabbed you, and trained your ears on the subtler moments.
The moments grow and feel more complex with each listen. The droning proggish guitar lead in “Book On How To Change” gets punctuated in the background with slashes of reverb-drenched guitar. “Nite Life,” a pleasant psychedelic groover, has layer upon layer of musical treasures floating just below the surface. The repetitive vocal close of “Demand It” is decorated with a swirling multi-part guitar jam.
Each moment on this album feels crafted to the nth degree, but remains simple, sparse and intimate. It makes sense then that multi-instrumentalist Meg Duffy is responsible for every bit of instrumentation and production. A native of the Albany area, she has been playing extensively with Mega Bog and Kevin Morby for the past few years. Now striking out on her own, Hand Habits becomes the latest branch on a Woodsist family tree that has been sprouting incredible talent at an impressive pace.
Key tracks: All The While, Book On How To Change, Nite Life