Locals: Garage-rock quartet the Electric Hand time travels on Purple Hearts
Time travel hasn't yet been invented, but listening toPurple Hearts, the new EP from local garage-rock quartet the Electric Hand, can provide a similar sensation.
"I think we all came to the same conclusion in terms of the type music we want to produce ... and we knew we wanted to stay between 1964 and 1969," said guitarist/organist Matt Forney, who joined bassist Jeff Wiseman and singer T.C. Ottinger for a late April interview at a Bexley coffee shop (drummer Chris Johnson will accompany the group for a record release show at Big Room Bar on Saturday, May 7).
"It's one of the last eras of true sexiness; look at the ways the clothes would fit on people," Ottinger said. "And the music itself was pure. You'd just plug in and go."
The bandmates adopted a similar approach during album recording sessions, which took place in October 2015 with Keith Hanlon at Musicol. Songs were generally tracked live, and the musicians employed minimal overdubbing in order to preserve a nervier, handmade quality - a rougher, scraped-knee feel Hanlon nearly upended with his engineering skills.
"The problem recording with Keith is he didn't make it dirty enough," Wiseman said, and laughed. "We were all in the same room recording and we were really hoping for bleed and a bit of a dirty sound, and it was like, 'Wow, this really sounds great. Crap.'"
Fortunately, the vinyl pressing "still sounds pretty nasty," according to Forney, a trait that should carry through into the band's live show, which the mates described as a visceral, high-energy affair.
"If people are coming out to see you … I feel you're obligated to put on a show," Ottinger said. "You don't go up there like you just walked off the street and stare at your feet."
This freewheeling spirit is generally reflected in the Electric Hand's lyrics, which focus on some combination of women, beer and drugs, Ottinger said, likely half in jest.
"Before I start writing [I listen to the instrumental] and it's like, 'What's the vibe? What does the song feel like?'" Ottinger said. "Does this make you feel like you're breaking up with a chick? Or are you drinking with a chick? Are you driving with a chick with a beer? Are you drinking with a chick and she's driving? Or are you not driving at all and just drinking a beer? Or is it scotch?"
It's a devil-may-care attitude that has driven the group from its formation three or four years ago.
"Matt and I, our previous bands, they were probably headier; the songs were very satirical and political at times," Wiseman said. "In this group, it's all about having fun and dancing and enjoying yourself."
Big Room Bar
8 p.m. Saturday, May 7
1036 S. Front St.,
ALSO PLAYING: The Whiles, Trachete