SINGLE REVIEW: Hands Up by Hallan
Portsmouth-based four piece Hallan kick off their new era with all guns blazing as they reveal their latest single Hands Up, a lively post-punk track coated in western aesthetics and dystopian concepts. The new song sees Hallan delve into a Burroughs-esque commentary on everyday mundanity, as expected from their staple quick-witted lyricism. Hands Up serves as the first single from Hallan's debut EP Reporting Live From The Living Room Floor, due to be released in the summer.
With a concoction of Orwellian bleakness stirred with Beats pennings and a sprinkle of post-punk goodness, you get the brilliance of Hallan. Back in the far-forgotten world of live music (fuck, we miss it), Hallan supported the likes of Sports Team and Porridge Radio. It's no wonder they've fixed themselves as regular favourites in the Portsmouth music scene.
Following last release Modern England - a sharp, angular criticism of social media, capitalisation, and, well, English culture - the South Coast quartet have built a reputation on taking the monotonous repetition of everyday life and regurgitating it into a fantastical surrealist frenzy of punk ruminations, evident as always with their first 2021 single Hands Up.
Opening with a hypnotising bass riff, the track builds with glistening guitar and spoken-word vocals into a rowdy, blaring chorus that'll be stomping around in your head for days like it has been in ours. Sharp-tongued vocalist Conor Clements brings levels of humour and frustration, drawling the repeated line "I've never seen someone look so bored" with a different take each time, continuously surprising us with his dead-pan expressions. Coming in at just under three minutes, Hands Up is a distorted, witty attack on the humdrum of modernity, transporting us with a spaghetti western escape from reality. It's addictive, it's clever, it's loud - it might just be Hallan's best track yet.
"Our sound changes depending on our agenda at any time, finding a different stride with every step," explains frontman Conor. "With Hands Up we found ourselves dropped into a western rerun armed with a fiercely cowboyish twang on our six string shooter. We wanted to forth a thematic, semi-abstract prose, attacking businessmen and penny pinchers in a flurry of suitably delirious criticisms."
Diving headfirst into a lyrical dystopia, Hands Up introduces Hallan's latest narrative of "Gumshoe Boy", an undercover operative in a satirical, parallel world where alternative music is outlawed in The State and the only legal audio consists of power-pop indie music and advertisement jingles. Sounds like a fucking nightmare to us. This alternate reality is explored throughout their EP Reporting Live From The Living Room Floor, set to be released on the July 16th.
Reporting Live From The Living Room Floor draws influence from everyday observation, mainstream pop culture, and laughable tabloid fiction to hold a mirror up to not only modern society, but the individuals that contribute to it. The EP paints an conceptual yet tangible reflection of the new decade as seen through Hallan's critical lens. The first taster of this narrative comes in the form of Hands Up, a cacophony of post-punk distortion that we can't get enough of!
While struggling to find a studio which didn’t just place Hallan in the cogs of a much larger machine and strip away their DIY integrity, the band found Ford Lane Studios, where they also recorded Modern England, and returned once again to record their debut EP. In a studio setting where experimentation and exploration were encouraged, as evident with the western aesthetics and dystopian literary influences of Hands Up, expect Reporting Live From The Living Room Floor to be a full-on deep-dive into the innovative minds of Hallan.
Backed by Nice Swan Records (Sports Team, Courting, Pip Blom), Hallan are finally ready to release their latest imaginings to the world, starting with Hands Up. Now that we've had the first taste of it, we know to expect big things from their debut EP.
The full track listing for the Reporting Live From The Living Room Floor EP is:
2. Hands Up
3. The White Boys
4. Orwells Idyllic Future
5. Television Show
6. Prime Time Lullaby
Review by Chloe Robbins
Photography by Lola Stephen