It has taken two years, but the U.S. finally has its answer to the Ting Tings: It’s Hundred in the Hands, a boy-girl dance-pop group hell-bent on filling your head with pop earwigs that will lay eggs in your cerebral cortex. They’ve got the backing of longtime electronic label, Warp, which clearly must be seeing dollar signs. But here’s the good news: While Hundred in the Hands will probably be selling you sneakers in the near future, they’ve delivered a self-titled album that masters this nu-disco better than most bands doing similar music can claim. (Ting Tings included.)
Nothing in Eleanor Everdell and Jason Friedman’s back catalog — they used to be in the middling Boggs — would prepare you for the smattering of New York-influenced dance music they kick out here. “Gold Blood” and “Last City” stomp like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with an imploding drum machine, while opener “Young Aren’t Young” spit-shines Moroder disco with glistening synths. Lead single “Pigeons” is an early highlight, as Everdell’s layered vocals form a chorus of cheerleaders waiting for a guy to call. The band first caught buzz thanks to the rocking “Dressed in Dresden,” so obviously that’s here as well, sort of buried as a welcome again to people who jumped on the band’s wagon a year ago.
The major fault of Hundred in the Hands is that it feels one-trick about four songs in. There are, after all, only so many ways you can do ascending dance music with cheerleader choruses (unless you’re willing to blow out the volume like Sleigh Bells). Whereas Hundred in the Hands’ recent EP, This Desert, was a short blast of smile-inducing jams that left the listener wanting more, Hundred in the Hands suffers from an overload of songs with too similar tempos and grooves. In small doses though, Hundred in the Hands is one of the year’s catchiest records. Paging Saucony: Your new ad campaign has a soundtrack.