It takes a smattering of sounds, chords and beats thrown in a blender for a three-piece band to mix an explosive aural cocktail. That’s basically what Long Beach’s the Soft Hands have done with their first album, Hours Pass By (Fidotrust). Frantic, spastic, frenzied—there are only so many adjectives that describe their unique wail. Instead, think of a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach—like you just bought a shitload of stock in Washington Mutual or you’re backing McCain. Head-spinning, pulse-quickening, all thoughts swimming together like a rapidly accelerating cyclone: Take that sensation, but spin it in a positive, non-panic-attack-inducing light. That’s essentially the opening cut, “Had a Vision,” which writhes around a rollicking collision of strained highs and anxious lows, an uneasy tension that holds steady through all 11 tracks. Drummer Casey Stuht is sometimes maniacal, sometimes savage, but always carefully calculated (his beats are the Soft Hands’ adrenalin), while guitarist/lead vocalist Matt Fry adds tense, jumpy high notes. Bassist Elizabeth Lindsey is the anchor keeping it all from rocketing into oblivion—on “I Hope So,” her heavy lines cement an otherwise-crack-induced sonic assemblage. A tonic for the sedentary, Hours Pass By may finally help you kick that triple-espresso dependency.
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The Soft Hands album-release party with the Fling, Happy Hallows and Goodfoot’s DJ Dennis at Alex’s Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8292; www.alexsbar.com. Oct. 17, 9 p.m. $5.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and decent high-resolution photos (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to email@example.com.