Elevate Difference

Common Reaction

Long story short, I was hanging around in the student center at school where a flat screen television soundlessly flashed images of MTVu. Since I had largely stopped watching MTV more than a decade ago, I was pretty much ignoring it. That is, until I saw a grainy black and white cartoon of an obviously lovesick man trailing a raven-haired beauty down the street. Intrigued, I resolved to listen to the song at home and made note of the band's name—Uh Huh Her.

I had never heard of the group before, and Los Angeles-based Uh Huh Her is a long way off from household name status. Named after PJ Harvey's 2004 album and comprised of Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey of The L Word fame, the duo hooked up just last summer. They released their first full length album, Common Reaction, in August of this year.

Common Reaction isn’t remarkable in the sense that it radically reinterprets electropop. Like much modern electronic music, this album fuses punkish guitars and baselines with piano and strings, then overlays those instruments with synthesized buzzing and whirring. What sucked me in were the reedy yet ethereal vocals of the two women as they sang of love, lust, and righteously angry heartbreak. Uh Huh Her—who alternately channel Shirley Manson, Saffron of Republica, and various '80s rocker girls—chant deliciously ambiguous lyrics throughout. (Exactly what do they mean by “won’t you pay if you wanna go down” and “I want to hurt you easy?”)  My absolute favorite tracks on Common Reaction are “Explode” (which was the song in the video I mentioned earlier) and “Dance With Me.” The sugary crooning of the plaintive lyrics and the somewhat ominous droning of the synthesizer makes “Explode” a make out song extraordinaire. This single had my fingers hovering over the “repeat” button for hours. “Dance With Me” had me wanting to do just that; the throbbing base and driving guitar are perfect for drunkenly (or maybe even soberly) boogying away. I found several other singles to be satisfying as well. “I See Red” featured an interesting juxtaposition of a jaunty, pop-rock beat and introspective lyrics about an emotionally unavailable partner. “Say So” is an upbeat rock song about the redemptive power of new love.

The lyrics on the other tracks are a bit clichéd, but so what? Not everyone can be "deep"... nor should they be. A certain number of mindlessly fun albums need to be released each year, just to keep us sane. Uh Huh Her's Common Reaction definitely fits the bill in that regard. Listen to a few of the tracks or view some of their videos on [their MySpace page](http://www.myspace.com/uhhuhhermusic" target="_blank).

Written by: Ebony Edwards-Ellis, December 1st 2008

i agree. great review. :)