Words by James Robertson
An infectious indie-pop playing duo, references to Twin Peaks, odes to cats and a song about a friendship with a 6ft 3½ inch invisible rabbit: welcome to the world of Her’s‘ debut album.
After EP Songs of Her’s graced us with its presence last year, we’ve been waiting patiently for its follow up. While Songs of Her’s felt like more of a collection of singles and a taste of the charming dream pop that the band was working with, Invitation to Her’s is most definitely an album with its themes, flow and more rigid structure.
Ste Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading bring the fast-paced and exuberant pop reminiscent of their past songs but tighten up both thematically and musically. The album title itself is a reference to Twin Peaks’ fictional show Invitation to Love and the Twin Peaks references don’t stop there, with the album cover and ‘Low Beam’, in particular, pushing the show’s surreal soap opera-esque vibes to the forefront.
Fitzpatrick is on fine form throughout the album focusing on a mix of entertaining and cartoonish characters that populate his songs. ‘Harvey’ for instance is about the 1950s James Stewart film of the same name where Stewart frequents bars with a giant invisible rabbit. On the surface, ‘Harvey’ is a quirky song about male friendship and companionship, yet in understanding its references the song becomes deeper and shows the duo’s tongues are firmly in cheek.
The band’s playfulness continues with Fitzpatrick’s ode to his old family cat Mannie in ‘Mannie’s Smile’. Fitzpatrick positions Mannie as a hero in his own right as the captain of the cats and the song itself serves as a hero’s farewell. I never thought I would find myself describing an ode to a cat but here I am. The best thing about the song is the band’s earnestness which stops it from being a silly exercise, and instead another example of infectious indie pop.
The band’s signature jangly guitar and dreamy synths are as present as ever, this time assisted by sugary basslines and metronomes. Although just two guys, Fitzpatrick and Laading manage to create some rich and beautiful soundscapes throughout. Fitzpatrick’s croons on ‘Carry the Doubt’ and Morrissey-esque wallows on ‘She Needs Him’ show him experimenting vocally and fitting the tone of the songs perfectly.
Whilst the band could easily be compared to contemporaries such as Gus Dapperton and Yellow Days because of their focus on R&B-led songs, there’s definitely more of an 80s vibe that shines throughout. There’s as much Peter Gabriel as Herbie Hancock – exciting synth pop and funky sound effects give the album a timeless quality.
With witty observations and weird vignettes combined with a passion for deliciously rich saccharine pop, Her’s have crafted a late summer album that will leave you waiting for your next invitation to their weird and wonderful world.
INVITATION TO HER’S BY HER’S IS OUT FRIDAY (24/8) VIA HEIST OR HIT. PRE-ORDER HERE: