It started, like it usually does, by listening to Rollins’s radio show. It ended, like it usually does, by checking out both a new band – Sweeping Promises – and a new label – Feel It Records – digging deep into the wealth of cool new music. Hunger For A Way Out is the two-piece band’s debut, and it checks off all my happy boxes for this kind of niche rock and roll: mono, 45 rpm, garage-y feel that evokes Joy Division and other post-punk but with a keen sense of pop that’s not overly saccharine.
Kicking off with the title track and that upper register bass sound there’s an immediate impact thanks in no small part to bassist/vocalist/who knows what else Lira Mondal. Her voice has an edge that removes any bubble gum from the post-punk wrapper and combined with the band’s single mic recording approach makes the track feel in your face and vital. Together with Caufield (who I guess does everything else) the band races through 10 tracks in under 30 minutes, and there’s not a wasted moment. Second track “Cross Me Out” has the same vibe as “Hunger for a Way Out” and could easily be another single.
Things slow down a little bit with the double-tracked vocals of “Blue” and the sparse instrumentation really shines in the mono mix. You can feel the vague sense of something not quite right settle over the song as the cymbal hits fade out into empty air. The band knows they have a special sound, and you hear that bass kick things off again and again: “Safe Now” is another good example, short and catchy with hand-claps and the guitar accentuating the song with quick licks as Lira layers vocals in the background to act like pads.
Second Verse (or side in this case) is same as the first, with highlights for me being the almost Devo-ish “Atelier” with the band using keys and effects to broaden the sound within the confines of the narrow mix. It’s kind of a marvel of production with a single mic to have all the instruments have this much space without the benefit of a stereo soundstage. In all Hunger For A Way Out is a sublimely fun and catchy record, a whetting of the appetite for whatever Sweeping Promises will do next (in November they released a new single called “Pain Without a Touch” you can get here). It’s also a good bellwether for whether or not you’ll like the other bands Feel It Records is putting out.
I do, very much, and we’ll be covering more of them here on the site, I assure you.