Following a series of rapturously received live shows, Liverpool-based synth-pop duo Her’s unveil their debut album, the appropriately titled ‘Invitation to… Her’s’. Released via Heist or Hit Records, it finds Barrow-in-Furness native Stephen Fitzpatrick and Norwegian Audun Laading offering wry observations about life and its many directions over off-kilter pop beats.
The short and sweet opener ‘Harvey’ sets the scene with its irresistible synths, vocoder and handclaps as the band admit ‘Nobody knows what I see, everyone thinks I’m crazy’. Following this is ‘Mannie’s Smile’, a punch-in-the-air dream pop anthem drenched in ’80s nostalgia – especially with the tongue-in-cheek Springsteen impression: ‘Nights where I would wake up and you would stare into my eyes, come in close to have your hair stroked and I’d almost hear you sigh’. The whole record has a playful sense of humour and this continues on the cabaret or game show-inspired introduction to ‘If You Know What’s Right’. However, this song soon becomes something more smooth and silky and is equal parts Prince and Mac DeMarco.
The veer into art pop meets prog on ‘Breathing Easy’ is unexpected but wonderful . It’s a song full of sparkle as the band ponder calling ‘off the search for my mother’s words’, while you can’t fail to shuffle along to the bass line on ‘Blue Lips’. The funky drums on ‘She Needs Him’ have a touch of Phil Collins and segue perfectly into recent single (and indie disco dancefloor filler) ‘Love on the Line (Call Now)’. As the album reaches its final throes, ‘Don’t Think It Over’ would make the perfect soundtrack to a John Hughes film where someone is jilted at the school prom, while ‘Under Wraps’ is a sultry song with an important message at its heart: ‘You’re only just starting to live, got a lot to gain and a lot to give’. The harmonious finish and fade-out captures the vibes of what is a record.
Invitation to Her’s? You’d be foolish to turn it down…