I’ve heard Columbus post-punk band Hidden Places compared to many other musical groups – like they’re trying to be The Talking Heads, they’re similar to Interpol but with energy, et cetera – but on Hidden Places’ debut indie rock album, “uh’s,” they are an entity completely of their own creation.

a0374722106_10Friends of the band have complained that “cruisin’,” a somewhat upbeat song from a previous three-track cassette, is notably not included in the band’s debut album. But there’s nothing missing from the narrative on “uh’s”; clocking in at just 17 minutes over seven indie rock tracks, it’s almost too easy to get lost in the music.

Despite not being traditionally “upbeat,” there’s no lack of energy. Whether it comes from frontman David Fuller’s warbling vocals, a memorable lick played by bassist Christian Kiko, or just the right balance of polished drums from Matt McCroskey, it’s easy to hear the cool enthusiasm that radiates from each of the college students as they function as a nearly-perfect team. During a live performance, this connection is even more apparent; the three feed off of each other’s energy in a symbiotic partnership.

“open window” highlights McCroskey’s rhythms without allowing it to overpower the song, leveling a catchy, speak-singing chorus (“You cannot push me around/I’ll do that all by myself”) with bright guitar chords and interjections from the bass guitar. “okay” is a surprisingly upbeat track about the anxieties of growing up (“somehow/I feel my hair going gray/somehow/I struggle acting my age”). It’s all just a little bit angular and a little bit angsty, coming together to create an indie rock album that’s bursting at the seams with unbridled energy and creativity.

Photo by Tristan Huygen.

When I turned 14 years old, my friends threw a surprise party in my basement and we listened to Walk The Moon. Two years later, I spent my 16th in the hospital with an angsty playlist featuring My Chemical Romance and The Walters. This year, however, October 27 had the best soundtrack of any birthday yet. Between a genre-bending hip-hop/synthpop album from Werewolf Diskdrive and this catchy, quirky indie rock from Hidden Places, it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve been listening to the same two albums on repeat for almost a week.

Originally published on Indientry on November 2, 2017.