Album Review: Say Hi – Um, Uh Oh

Ever since the last two summers Say Hi To Your Mom was something that sat there in my media library because Last.Fm said to me that I would like it. A friend said listen to Impeccable Blahs by the band and you’ll fall in love. I did and it was history from that point on. The older stuff from the band rings in your ears as electronical soothing sounds that make you want to cuddle up with someone. The last album had a more low-fi sound, or rocky and more natural sound. I think though that this album snuck up on me there was no expectations for it in any way shape or form so not only was I blown away by it in most cases I was relieved that something came along after that Iron and Wine record to make me forget it

Track Listing:

  1. “Dots on Maps” – 3:45
  2. “Devils” – 2:20
  3. “All the Pretty Ones” – 2:37
  4. “Take Ya’ Dancin'” – 3:01
  5. “Posture, etc.” – 2:55
  6. “Sister Needs a Settle” – 3:11
  7. “Lookin’ Good” – 3:31
  8. “My, How it Comes” – 2:23
  9. “Shiny Diamonds” – 3:20
  10. “Handsome Babies” – 3:23
  11. “Trees Are a Swayin'” – 2:02
  12. “Bruises to Prove It” – 2:40

The first track off of this surprising early release is called “Dots on Maps.” This sounds weird because I am used to a more electronic feel from the band or should I say the one man band. The guitar hauntingly backs up the vocals of Eric Elbogen. Of course in 2009 his last album had a similar sound to it, or I could be totally wrong. This song though feels a bit different. Not as poppy sounding but just as dreary as previous works from Elbogen. The lyrics such as “there is a trigger somewhere let’s pull it” help develop the mood on the opening track and tells you that the next forty minutes you are probably going to hate life and stuff.

The following track debuted on Gossip Girls or some show like that. It’s called “Devils” and it’s really short, I mean like less than two and a half minutes. So far I like this song, it has a nice beat but once Elbogen starts singing the similarities between this album and previous albums get thrown away. I spent the first track trying to draw a comparison and I figured it out. Beck, yes he sounds like Beck on this album through two songs. Sure lyrically he hasn’t changed as much but he has a more instrumental sound, like not straight up electronic album. I like it though but not as much as his real old stuff. I like this song a lot because it has that sound that you would expect out of Beck but working well for this group.

“All the Pretty Ones” in title sounds like a song he wrote ages ago. And of course it’s pretty damn good. This song feels more like a throwback to the older albums and tracks that he did. Both on the lyrical standpoint and the actual sound. His voice has changed over the years and it’s one of those things that either bother you like no tomorrow or it’s something that you can tolerate.  This song stands out at this point due to the similar sound to earlier works. There really isn’t much I can add to it. The chorus is something that can get stuck in your head if you let it, but at the same time it could just sit there and nothing happens.

“Take Ya’ Dancin’” keeps up with the older style of Say Hi music some of us have come to love. It felt like during the opening like you would expect to see Ron Howard jump out and start dancing. While it does have the old vibe to it, it has a beat that makes you want to get up and start to dance like a maniac which I think is the point. The beat is catchy and gets you bobbing your head which is something Elbogen has always been able to do so well with lyrics that make you wonder what he’s saying sometimes as it seems muffled when he sings.

“Posture Etc.” follows the last few tracks with an older vibe from the band. The lyrics are muffled as his voice seems more distant much like on previous records especially songs like “Kill the Cat” but Elbogen gets his feelings out in a brooding style. The guitar is haunting mixing in with a keyboard and piano at times that make you feel lonely and now you can clearly share in the pain of the musician.

We calmly reach the half way point with “Sister Needs A Settle.” But this song picks back up with the tempo going faster and faster. I really dig the way it goes at the beginning. The instrumental takes the cake for this track I feel. The vocals are washed out by the nice happy beat, as Elbogen moans and whines about whatever he’s going on about. I feel this track is one of the stronger ones on this album actually. It’s got one of those nice riffs to it that just make you want to get up and sway back and forth to.

“Lookin’ Good” is the seventh track on the album. Following the previous track which set it up for a nice stereotypical Say Hi track this one better not disappoint. And the response to does it is a questionable one. It starts off with an acoustic guitar playing multiple chords off and on. This just feels out of place for most Say Hi fans. Of course it picks up right before the vocals moan in like a dying ghost. The track fades out as it progresses and it feels more it could end an album but alas it doesn’t.

“My How It Comes”  is the eighth track on the album and it has this eerie haunting vibe at the very beginning. Sure it feels like you are sitting in a church alone while some old lady sits and plays the pipe organ but it’s not that bad. The guitar comes in and so does the vocals. It is a haunting and eerie track that makes you lose track of all time involved in the process. Not a bad way to follow up the acoustic number. About half way through there is a minor change in the style of the song itself but nothing huge that throws it off, just a bit of a pick up in the beat.

“My How it Comes” is just a twenty second instrumental track right there that makes you wish there was more due to it’s captivating sound. “Shiny Diamonds” though is a track that tells you it’s near the end. The piano and the vocals screech around you. It’s a good track. Not bad, I like the piano as it plays a variation of the same few keys. Granted it sounds like a Zutons song at the beginning until it picks up with a full backing band. It’s a grand song that might work in a large auditorium.

I like the next track “Handsome Babies” it’s good, it’s got something going for it. The way the instrumentals continue to work with the vocals and lyrics astounds me to the point where I wonder if this is all fake. Sure the lyrics seem to be about a sappy love romance that happened but it works for the sound. The thing that saddens me is that the songs you want longer on this album are in fact the short ones. It bothers me, if you think about it.

We reach the last two tracks of the album, “Trees Are A Swayin’” and “Bruises to Prove It.” Are a good closing way to end the album, while both tracks are solid neither of them really stood out to me in the least. With the fact that this album is strong in almost every facet with little to no god awful tracks I have to give this one an 8.5/10. Good work all around

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About Angerbanjo

As passionate as one can be about certain topics it is hard to make a living with that passion, that being said my passion for nerd culture, modern music and video gaming has yet to translate into anything moderately successful, that and my degree in electronic media, but hey at least I can use that journalism minor. View all posts by Angerbanjo

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