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Out Hud: S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D.

Album: S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D.
Label: Kranky

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Hitting on an approach that begs to be called post-post-rock, Out Hud plays instrumental guitar jams that summon the wiggle and shake missing from the funkless lab exercises of bands like Tortoise. Sharing core members with !!! (pronounced "chik chik chik"), the quintet built up a sizable underground name with over-the-top shows full of go-go dance antics and gamefully grooving crowds. But S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D., the band's proper debut after a handful of singles and EPs, casts Out Hud as a straight-up rock group whose party-starting returns derive from decidedly modest means. The album-opening "Story Of The Whole Thing" lays out the band's formula in slow motion, smearing sparse guitar chimes with spacey synth patches and warmed-over drum-machine sounds. From there, Out Hud's flair for quasi-epics and sly, prosaic song titles barrels into "Dad, There's A Little Phrase Called Too Much Information," a seven-minute track that interweaves the pregnant atmosphere of New Order with the constricted lurch of Joy Division. Recently transplanted to Brooklyn from Sacramento, Out Hud fits squarely into New York's post-punk resurrection. But unlike Radio 4, Liars, and scores of others, the group seems interested in dance-rock fusion as an idea more than a received methodology. Rooted in a goosed-up Jamaican bassline and guitar riffs that go from gleam to burn, "Hair Dude, You're Stepping On My Mystique" summons a bygone era with a freshness that sounds entitled to its influences. And more than just a wordy wink linking Williamsburg to Duke Ellington's Harlem, "The L Train Is A Swell Train And I Don't Want To Hear You Indies Complain" wraps frantic cymbal splashes, moody '80s guitar sighs, and swirling electro production into an 11-minute summation of New York's current fancies. Out Hud's scaled-back sonic template doesn't always necessitate its lack of vocals, but at its best, S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. whispers toward a worthy future rather than shouting down the past.