Album reviews: Wait. Think Fast., the Soft Hands


[Catching up on a couple October releases I missed:]

waitthinkfast-albumWait. Think. Fast., “Vuelve al Mar” (Origami) — How do you say “dreamy” in Spanish? This intoxicating bit of shimmering shadow-pop (reminds me of the ethereal, folky work of the Golden Palominos in the ’90s) serves its metaphysical themes well. Argentinean-born singer-keyboardist Jacqueline Santillan narrates plaintively as holy water turns black, frogs come out at midnight, souls return to the sea and bad luck stalks he who makes bad decisions. And that’s just in one song. A couple spins of this disc, produced by Matthew Beighley (the band’s guitarist-bassist), and you won’t even notice that it’s bilungual and you’re not.

||| Download: “Cura”

||| Live: The band’s CD-release party is tonight at the Echo, also featuring the Hectors and Fol Chen.

softhands-coverThe Soft Hands, “Hours Pass By” (Fidotrust) — This Long Beach trio’s 41-minute anxiety attack, while almost too lo-fi for its own good, nods to decades of O.C. and South Bay punk influences, and not just in the Matt Fry’s spastic guitars and Casey Stuht’s four-armed-man drumming. Like the best of their forebears, the Soft Hands have intellectual property. In the title track, Fry implores the listener to explore his own ideas: “Do you hear them screaming for air?” Elizabeth Lindsey’s bass lines almost demand you listen to Fry’s condition report in “I’m on Fire.” Meet the new agitants.

||| Download: “Harbor” from

||| Live: The Soft Hands perform Thursday at eVocal (814 W. 19th St, Costa Mesa).