October 1st, 2014

Pale Hands – Spirit Lines

   By Alex Teitz

Pale Hands are a dreampop couple out of Massachusetts. Jen Johnson is on lead vocals and takes a different course from her previous projects of Velah and Static of the Gods. She is joined by her husband Mike Latulippe. Dreampop is a wide genre filled with everyone from Cocteau Twins to CHVRCHES. Pale Hands carves out their place in it their full length debut Spirit Lines.
Spirit Lines is a nine track album. It has the required elements of dreampop with keyboard, distort, synth, percussion and a range of beats. What sets it apart is Pale Hands haunting lyrics and Johnson’s woven vocals. Lead single “Under Over” is about a couple fighting mental illness and goes from subtle melodies to echoey vocals. “Juventud” has a strong beat and background vocals layered with keys. It is about a relationship in trouble. “No Stars” is the strongest song on the album and has a danceable beat mixed with percussion and rattle. The lyrics are sublime and beautiful. “Elemental” is the weakest track on the album. The arrangement is overproduced with layering vocals that are overwhelmed by too much instrumentation. The lyrics are strong and empowering but are not working in the mix. The best songs on the album are “Locusts”, “Juventud”, “Seismic” and “No Stars.”
Spirit Lines will not be for everybody. One hopes the lyrics are not autobiographical since most of the songs are about fighting in bad relationships or situations. Johnson’s vocals bring to mind young Aimee Mann. Pale Hands are a bold entry into dreampop. Their beats and synths are danceable and hide heart retching lyrics.  Lyrically Pale Hands stands alone. For info visit www.facebook.com/wearepalehands

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