I have a confession to make: I don’t get post-rock. I don’t understand the appeal of songs with fractured melodies, misplaced beats, and seemingly random noises. Fortunately for Gigantic Hand, despite the fact that they describe themselves as post-rock, they don’t exhibit any of the irritating traits I associate with it. Their music is grounded in solid fundamentals: rhythms, melodies, and harmonies that actually work. With a solid foundation they’re free to expand and experiment, and the end result is something that sounds new, but in a good way.
As is so often the case, what is now a group effort began with just one man. Gigantic Hand started as an acoustic project for Kris Kaczor. The project didn’t really take off until he moved from Detroit to NYC in 2005, when he hooked up with drummer/keyboardist Rory O’Connor and bassist/trumpeter Kevin Bayson. The trio fleshed out the ideas Kaczor had started, and by 2007 were ready to make a pilgrimage. They headed back to Michigan to record an album.
The result is Permanent Skin, a very solid debut album, not only showing the band’s current ability, but strongly hinting at the wide array of directions they can take in the future.
The persistent beat keeps the song chugging forward, even as the vocals and lead guitar plod along over it. The contrast is intriguing, stimulating, and most importantly, appealing. That’s the part that a lot of bands who try to be “post-rock” seem to forget about, but Gigantic Hand has firmly in their grasp.
With the drum intro, the Smiths-esque guitar riff, and vocals sounding like a cross between Modest Mouse and James, this seems like it should be a fairly straightforward track. Then the double-tongued trumpet lick comes in and gives it some flair. The total package is highly effective, and sounds like more than the sum of its influences.