Distraction

If MGMT hadn't got so trippy, if Vampire Weekend didn't know Soweto from Secaucus – they'd probably both still be better, or at least bigger, than Bear Hands. But the Brooklyn band's second LP (on the label that first signed MGMT) has its charms, mixing ringing guitars, kiting Eighties synths and nerdy swagger: "I say, 'Art!' You say, 'Class!'" Wesleyan grad Dylan Rau implores on the winning single "Giants." Songs like "Vile Iowa" and "Sleeping on the Floor" are clever studies in twentysomething malaise, and if a few of Rau's loopier ideas get away from him, he's got a knack for the kind of diagonal pop pleasure that's powered college radio for ages.

From The Archives Issue 1204: March 13, 2014
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