Howard Hello

Howard Hello

Don’t Drink His Blood

Temporary Residence

Taken on a purely musical level, Don’t Drink His Blood is the perfectly formed offspring of Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right to Children and Rachel’s Systems/Layers: it’s the high class soundtrack for today’s urban infant. Mom and dad must be proud of young Howard’s wide-eyed distillation and reflection of the world around him. The album is replete with “doots,” “bahs” and easily memorized one-line mantras like, “You were right and I am wrong.” Alongside robust robotic burbles, hums and giddy guitar strums, it’s almost tailor-made for a Volkswagen commercial. Hell, “False Hope” even flaunts a keyboard melody that’s only a couple of notes away from Steely Dan’s “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number,” and we all know kitsch sells: the crappier the better.

The funny thing about Howard Hello is how they occasionally use their lyrics and vocals to undermine their commercial viability. Check out the Tom-Waits-meets-The-Gerber-Baby voice that delivers the circular refrain “murdering your mind” toward the end of “The Parasite.” Actually landing one of these tracks in an ad would be akin to The Shins’ “New Slang” (with its line about bleeding into buns) appearing in a McDonald’s commercial — a thing of ironic beauty if only because of monstrous ignorance. Don’t Drink His Blood really should be taken as the sound of the gears in an adman’s head grinding to a halt, unable to comprehend this album’s paradox. It’s more likely, though, that these same suits are already editing these songs in their heads for future ad campaigns.

Temporary Residence:

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