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L Word alum’s new duo gets it just right
In the long and storied history of The L Word TV series, the most sparkling, joyful element of the show was almost invariably one person: Alice, portrayed by Leisha Hailey.
Oh, there have been other roles, certainly, and her first brush with fame was in the band The Murmurs, which she formed with fellow American Academy of Dramatic Arts student Heather Grody. All of that, from murmuring to L Wording, however, is now in the past.
Thankfully for those lacking that touch of Leisha, her new duo Uh Huh Her is going full steam ahead, with a new full-length album due out in a few months, a post-SXSW tour underway and a shiny new EP available for sale at tour dates.
Uh Huh Her is Hailey and Camila Grey, late of the indie band Mellowdrone. After a self-produced EP and a debut album co-produced by Grey and Al Clay, who worked with the Pixies and Blur, they were dropped by their label, leading to a reexamination of their efforts.
Grey returned to the basics, listening to Pink Floyd (solid!), the Eurythmics (swoon!) and Joy Division (a better influence could never be found!). The studio was decorated with pictures of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and the Velvet Underground.
In short, Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey decided to write music for me and anyone out there with similarly exquisite taste. And, after listening to the new EP, Black and Blue, it can be said that they have succeeded.
Certainly, there have been albums more sublime, but when it comes to covering their bases, this electropop New Wave duo have done it admirably.
The title track is perfection incarnate. That is not hyperbole. If this song is not rocked in every dance club in the Northern Hemisphere, Friedrich Nietzsche could use that as proof of the death of God. It opens like classic Bronski Beat, then fills with mellifluously layered vocals.
Grey and Hailey are graciously offering the song as a free download at http://soundcloud.com/uhhuhher/01-black-and-blue/s-J7d1x. Get it and listen for yourself.
The second song, “Never the Same,” is a timeless pop song with a contemporary flair, with nuanced lyrics that beautifully describe the meeting of two hearts.
“Philosopher” gives a Goldfrapp tech-heavy twist to the lineup, morphing into an electro take on Joy Division-inflected lyrics.
They then return to a more low-fi sound for “I’ve Had Enough,” giving the guitar and drums a workout. The intro is almost reminiscent of the Deftones--hard, but vulnerable. Soaring guitar riffs infuse the song, along with the almost ethereal vocals.
If one had to guess at an inspiration for the next track, “Fascination,” one would be tempted to say Violator-era Depeche Mode, but as with everything else on the EP, the retro influences are counterbalanced by both timelessness and complete contemporaneousness. There is some guitar work in this song that absolutely sends shivers up and down the spine. It is magnificent.
By the way, ladies, Terri Nunn of the band Berlin called. She was really hurt that you didn’t call her to do guest vocals on the final track, “No Sacrifice.” It starts off like something from between “No More Words” and “Take My Breath Away,” and then Grey and Hailey make it their own.
If there is any problem with Black and Blue, it’s that it is only available for purchase on their website, www.uhhuhher.com, and at their live shows, which means April 26 in Columbus at the Basement, 391 Neil Avenue. Tickets are available at www.promowestlive.com.
They’ll be in metro Detroit the next night, at Ferndale’s Magic Bag theater, and on May 3 they’ll hit Mr. Small’s Theatre in Pittsburgh, so people in Toledo and northeast Ohio have options if they can’t make the Columbus show.
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