Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CD Review: The Handcuffs - Electroluv

Brad Elvis Steakley, former drummer with The Elvis Brothers, first hooked up with vocalist-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell in the band Big Hello, and they continue to make top notch power pop as The Handcuffs. Electroluv, their second effort, also features guitarist Ellis Clark from the band Epicycle, as well as a few guest appearances from Brad’s former Elvis Brother, Graham on bass. Emily Togni plays bass on most of the other tracks.

The title track, a tribute to a vacuum cleaner, shows Steakley’s knack for writing songs that combine fun lyrics and strong melodies. The catchy “Baby Boombox” celebrates audio cassettes, 8 tracks, and turntables, while the very short “Russian or Polish Girl” is a micro-sized Gilbert & Sullivan opera. The only lyrics to “Gotta Problem With Me?” are “You gotta problem with me, I gotta problem with you” but Orwell’s feisty attitude and the energetic arrangement somehow make it work.

Not that everything on Electroluv aims for the funny bone. The mid-tempo “Wonderful Life” takes a bittersweet look at living alone, and “Turn It Up,” the only song written by Orwell, is more of a lush ballad. The various keyboards used on “Fake Friends” evoke a James Bond movie theme as Orwell sings, “Creatures like you make my skin crawl.” “Somebody Somewhere” may be the CD’s best track, an energetic blast of power pop at its best.


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