The Shaky Hands

Friday, October 17

While the vocals of singer Nicholas Delffs of the Shaky Hands sound immediately like a Bright Eyes/Neutral Milk Hotel mashup, he owes a bigger debt to the Talking Heads. The Portland band's new album, Lunglight, offers both instrumental and vocal comparisons to the 1980s pop group. With lyrics like "Well everything must not be making sense" and "We are living in war time" ("Life During Wartime"), both lines from Lunglight's second track, "Loosen Up", Delff makes some direct nods to the Heads. On top of this, "Loosen Up" lopes along with syncopated guitar work, congo drums, and cow bell, making it a convincing outtake from Remain in Light or Speaking in Tongues. Delff's vocals, too, approach the disenchantment of David Byrne's. On Lunglight, observations abound of an outsider looking in; neither understanding nor accepting the world around him. And this is where Delff's DIY values differ from so many other cynical singers of his generation. His songs are shot through with optimism and positivity, encouraging the listener not to fall prey to the sheer alienation felt by so many of his peers.

Fri., Oct. 17, 9:30 p.m., 2008

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