Published Jan 29, 2020There will be few records this year with half the vibrating life of Hut Hut's Hut Hut Hut. Raised from the grave of the recently deceased Boats, Hut Hut's debut delivers conventional goods in unconventional forms — a surprisingly efficient guitar-pop Rube Goldberg machine.
There are echoes of the Dismemberment Plan's seismic Emergency and I in the jittery guitar and spacious production — the entirety of Hut Hut Hut is a crash course in sonic whiplash, hooks smashing into hooks as voices chant and holler into the void.
And speaking of voices, there it is — the unmistakable, unavoidable pipes of Mat Klachefsky. Like the nerve-prickling music that it dances atop, Klachefksy's voice is not the stuff of easy listening — there is no American Idol soul-damaged obscurity to what he does. Instead, his is a particular voice with a particular point of view. Keening and high-pitched, it's a beautiful obscenity that's made all the more spectacular for the bearish frame from which it emanates.
It all might be a bit much if Klachefsky wasn't so adept at crafting weapons-grade hooks that elevate these songs into an affecting vision of warped guitar pop. Hut Hut have a knack for that particular brand of melody — difficult to explain, instantly memorable and nostalgic of some memory you're not sure you truly have. And when they hit the sweet spot, they hit it hard. The driving post punk mantra "Hey Strangers" is some kind of lost classic, made all the better for its wordless, chanting outro — verging on ridiculous and becoming something more.
It's a good thing the music is so fun and affecting, as one is unlikely to gather much from Klachefsky's decidedly free-form lyricism. He finds himself falling in love with a kitchen appliance on see-sawing opener "Song Number One," while on jaunty sing-along "Harmony Mansion," he's a callus on a grizzly bear cub. What it means is not always clear, but there's a strange internal logic to Klachefky's impressionistic storytelling. Whatever it is that's being sung, it's being sung with feeling.
There's a level of cynicism that must be put aside to fully reap Hut Hut Hut's rewards, but it's worth what little effort it requires. And once you've come to terms with that voice and those rhythms and all the meaningful meaninglessness, there's a strange little gift of a record to be found. (Independent)