The Lovely Feathers Hind Hind Legs

[Equator; 2006]

Styles: funtime, often joke-y pop with as much chutzpah as chortle
Others: The Unicorns, Of Montreal, Franz Ferdinand

Although the nu Canadian indie-rock revolution began with the somber saplings of sound tamped beneath the ground by GY!BE and detonated on the heels of The Arcade Fire's closed-casket Funeral, many of the best way-the-frig-up-North bands embrace the endorphin-boosting power of humor to lend their songs that extra BOMP(!). From The Unicorns to Broken Social Scene's liner notes, to varying ends, our nation's neighbors aren't too Seattle to self deprecate with an elbow to the abdomen and a knowing wink.

The Lovely Feathers may someday come to be the foremost representatives of this stratagem, their nimble tongues planted firmly in-cheek and fingers constantly crossed. Hind Hind Legs, an exhausting record with more zap than a Crumb comic, is the formative wing-flap of a group with big-time ambition but more than a few blatant influences, most obviously the ramshackle rock of the aforementioned, much-missed – and much too-discussed – Unicorns. However, where Who Will Cut Our Hair While We're Gone? was a choppy, disjointed, half-gurgle of a moment of random genius, the bulk of HHL is meatier (read: hammier), bigger, and more-bounce-to-the-ounce-ier, an arty amalgam of absurdist lyrics, delightfully danceable moments, and, beneath the colorful fruity pebbles of fun, a hearty portion of that quality you just can't teach: an ear for the sublime.

Just snort a small sample and you'll be hooked and wishing you'd have plopped Hind Legs onto your Eyepod for your pathetic health club regimen of ass-flexing, mirror-gazing, and ass-staring. Stuffing a surprising array of shifts and turns into its contours, "In the Valley" is a fitting sign of things to come, sandwiched between the gritty, gap-toothed grin of album-opener "Pope" and tart tantrums of "I Really Like You." Built around an awful post-disco riff and trademarked bratty post-punk yelps, "Valley" flips on its side to first reveal a more jagged version of the intro riff, gradually cascading into a gorgeous strings mid-section that has NO BUSINESS in such a buoyant song.

All about-faces and head-scrambling jukes, Hind Hind Legs seemingly sets its table only to change courses every few minutes, a larger vision the only explanation for such a delicate display of savvy where arranging is concerned. Whether meticulously plotted out like a chess game or sloppily slapped together like a pee-bee-an'-jay, HHL, weaker for its transparent platitudes, could possibly spell the beginning of a great band, for while you may catch their hands in the cookie jar, with jewels like "Wrong Choice" you'll never be able to fully chastise their thieving ways.<

1. Pope John Paul
2. In The Valley
3. I Really Like You
4. Frantic
5. Wrong Choice
6. Mildly Decorated
7. Photocorners
8. Only Appalachian Cornfield, The
9. Ooh You Shocked Me
10. E Man Sorrow
11. Rod Stewart
12. Breakfast Cake
13. LionEats The Wildebeest

Most Read