Give Yourself A Hand
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/05/2007
Isn’t it funny how avid “disco” bands are progressively shifting towards a more “guitaresque” sound? (Depeche Mode? New Order?) Isn’t it even funnier how ardent rockers are incorporating elements of “techno” in their repertoire? Is it irony or is it change; or is it, as “better man” Eddie Vedder would shout, “Evolution, baby!”
Truly, some bands evolve, whereas others make a cataclysmic effort and fall just as hard. Take the Crash Test Dummies, for instance. On one hand, they created an absolute masterpiece God Shuffled His Feet, and on the other came up with something as devastingly confused and unlistenable as Give Yourself A Hand.
Experimentation has always been a sine qua non for progression of great bands. There is absolutely no harm in drastically changing the style of music, as long as the band knows what it is doing. However, the case with Crash Test Dummies is somewhat different. After coming up with God Shuffled His Feet, one of the finest alt-folk albums of the '90s, they followed it up with the rather prosaic A Worm’s Life. As if by learning from one’s past mistakes, they made a bold move to shift from their traditional folk-rock sound to an “electronic” one: a commendable move, indeed. Though they had their intentions right, the execution, however, was seriously flawed.
It was heartening to know that the Dummies tried to bring a substantial change in their sound, since they were going nowhere with A Worm’s Life. But, it seems as if they got more confused with the follow up: the songs on Give Yourself A Hand are boring, spineless, wan and plainly unlistenable. The lyrics are pathetic, and though the Dummies try hard to sound cheeky, they fail miserably.
And the music is even worse. There are just three songs on the record worthy of any praise: the amazing single, “Keep A Lid On Things” and the two beautiful songs sung by Ellen Reid, “Get You In The Morning,” and “A Little Something.”
If there is anything that comes out positively from this record, it's Reid’s singing. Notwithstanding that, Give Yourself A Hand is only worthy of being interred without an epitaph.