Made By Hand begins and it’s clear we are in a very safe pair of hands indeed. A soundscape of nuanced flavours and lush orchestration washes over the listener in a comforting glow of production nous that’s wonderful and fully-realised.
The mix is a thing of great skill and guides the listener through to various jewels in a musical crown of smooth songwriting joy. OK, so my language is getting a little carried away here, but what we have here is a hugely impressive piece of pop rock that oozes style and is over far, far too soon. The swagger and confidence on display deserves to be trumpeted from rooftops. If I’m still being unclear in some way, I really like this song! Channeling the ghost of Hotel California and the esoteric and piano-led arrangements of bands like Tankus the Henge, Huff’s vocal smoothly soars amidst it all bestowing little nuggets of lyrical wisdom as it goes: ‘Some things I cannot stand / Slipping through my fingers just like sand’.
Slightly tinged with regret and wistfulness, Made By Hand is a great contrast for the upbeat Breaking Through on the single’s flipside. We still have a rich and expensive arrangement, but the guitars are driving this one through. The off-kilter musical entry into the chorus and exultant use of synth are quite surprising and lend an unexpected (though not at all unwelcome) taste to proceedings. The word ‘jaunty’ presents itself and really shouldn’t. And then it’s over far too soon, just like Made by Hand.
‘You’ll never get your hooks in me,’ sings Huff. That may be so, but these tunes have ensnared me from the outset. It’s mainly the obvious joy at their creation, and the opportunity to show off their wares that has got me so enthusiastic. Fantastic!