Fresh off the announcement of their announcement of their imminent ten-year anniversary tour for Life In Dreaming, Hidden in Plain View could have easily rested on their laurels, content to tie the band’s legacy indelibly to that emo classic. And who could blame them? While many of the band’s contemporaries have faded from memory, the heart-baring anthems on Life In Dreaming have begun to speak to a new generation of music listeners- taking on new life in the era of the “emo revival” and even giving this very site its namesake.
But Hidden In Plain View is not the kind of band to stand pat. Seemingly out of nowhere, the band dropped a new single, “No Way Out,” back in September, Hidden in Plain View’s first new song in almost seven years. Followers of this blog know that we loved “No Way Back,” but aside from announcing a few tour dates, the band was mostly quiet after its release.
That all changed on Tuesday, when the New Jersey-based outfit dropped an EP entitled “Animal – Single” with three new songs, including “No Way Out”- as well as two never before heard songs “Hunting The Hunter” and “Self Inflicted”- and announced they were signing to Rise Records.
While the best song on the “Animal – Single” remains “No Way Out”- a song I still believe is among the best of the band’s career- the other two songs also prove that the band hasn’t lost a step despite their long hiatus.
The band’s biting lyrics especially have aged like a fine scotch whisky: “I am not the one who chose to throw it all away, I can’t fix what cannot be changed. So what’s the point of trying to make amends with that, I can’t lose what I never had,” singer Joe Reo whisper-sings in the bridge of “Self Inflicted”- a vicious take-down of a former flame disguised as mild indifference.
Lead track “Hunting the Hunter” is perhaps the track that would most fit on “Life in Dreaming.” Upbeat and featuring dueling swirling guitar lines, “Hunting the Hunter” is punctuated by an epic bridge in which Reo is allowed to stretch his vocal chords to their full potential, as he asks in a powerful falsetto, “Does this mean I’m a killer? I’m only human.”
The album also displays a much greater influence of electronics on the band’s sound. Ambient electronics float over the bridge of “Hunting the Hunter,” while the entire last 3 and a half minutes of “Self Inflicted” is a looping synth line with multiple layers of drums of guitar feedback added over top- the best comparison would be Jimmy Eat World’s “Goodbye Sky Harbor.” This should come as no surprise to local fans of Hidden in Plain View who saw the band at Skate and Surf 2014. At that show, drummer Spencer Peterson kept a laptop by his drumside and the band added in samples of pop-socks and electronic interludes repeatedly throughout the set. While the change-up in the band’s sound may be slightly disarming at first to old-school fans, it is a welcome addition to the sonic palate, as they give each of the songs on the “Animal” single room to breathe and shift into a different beast entirely.
Hopefully, the “Animal” single is a precursor of things to come when the band puts out their Rise Records debut (in 2015, please?) While the title of the EP appears to indicate there is a song called “Animal” on the EP there isn’t a song on here titled as such- although “Hunting the Hunter” does feature the line “I am only an animal” in its chorus. It is possible, however, that this single is the precursor to an album entitled Animal. If that is the case, look out for the first Hidden In Plain View album since Resolution in 2007 to make a serious dent on our end of the year list for 2015.