Wellington three-piece Hans Pucket have put out a stellar LP in the form of 8 excellent songs – some short and punchy, others a little longer and more (pleasantly) self-indulgent.
‘Eczema’ is some A+ indie rock, with shades of garage and surf – even a little funk – shining through. When it comes to drawing local comparisons, many of the tracks have a bit of an Electric Confectionaires vibe.
There’s solid instrumentation and arrangement across all the tracks, with all band members showing some serious chops. Frontman Oliver Devlin provides wistful but powerful vocals, supplemented on a couple of tracks with quality harmonies from his bandmates.
Oliver is also a dab hand on guitar, both when gently plugging away and when kicking out a solo on longer songs like title track Eczema or Fuck My Life – not to mention piano and trombone abilities that appear on a couple of the songs. Oliver’s twin brother Callum Devlin keeps the bassline going strong and smooth throughout the record – and Jonathan Nott (yes, one of those Notts – he’s acted as the touring drummer for Broods) lays down the beat on drums.
From the opening track, Comfort, we get the mellow vibes that permeate the rest of the record. While it picks up pace in places, the overarching sensation is gentle beachy sounds underpinned by vocals that occasionally cut deep. You don’t get a song called Fuck My Life on a record without a bit of bleakness.
Touches of flute, sax, and pleasantly warbling synths add extra variety and oomph to the tracks where they appear. Even when things are down-tempo, the overarching impression is of upbeat indie rock, cascading riffs and plenty of emotion behind both instrumentation and singing.
Highlights are always hard to pick on a consistently good record, but Straight To My Heart and Fuck My Life both have that special something that leaves them lurking in your brain after the fact.