The Hush Sound

Like Vines

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Not yet in their current lineup for two full years, the Hush Sound is remarkably already on album number two (as in full-lengths, not EPs). Though their debut, So Sudden, aptly laid the foundation for the band's melodic piano tinkering, it was still only recorded a month after their lineup solidified. Consequently, it comes as no real surprise that their sophomore effort, Like Vines, is a much more fully realized and mature sounding album. Issued through Decaydance/Fueled by Ramen, the album is a wonderful change of pace for emo-punk-saturated ears; the Hush Sound produces bouncy, fun, and sweetly melodic songs based around warm instrumentation and a playful delivery. Though initial spins may find tracks sounding slightly interchangeable amid all the exuberance, listeners are rewarded with the distinct personality each eventually claims. All members technically share vocal duties, but the focus mainly lies in the tradeoff between guitarist Bob Morris and pianist Greta Salpeter. Morris has a strong and controlled voice that steers each song effortlessly, while perfectly complementing the sassy sweetness of Salpeter, whose vocals are often suggestive of Straylight Run's Michelle Nolan. From the effervescent "We Intertwined" to the breezy, bango-tinged "Where We Went Wrong" to the sparse "Lighthouse," the Chicago quartet explores the pop spectrum without losing their footing or making the music sound forced. After all, "Lions Roar" begins with the popcorn-fueled urgency of a circus before fading out near the end to reveal a lonely and austere trumpet -- and it works quite well. The triumphant "Don't Wake Me Up" and "Wine Red" are other notable highlights on a summery, unpretentious offering that shines thanks to a confident band very much full of life.

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