HAND HABITS – ” Fun House “

Posted: August 5, 2021 in MUSIC

The Sasami -produced third album by Los Angeles musician and a member of Kevin Morby’s band Meg Duffy is a breakthrough, touching on everything from rangy Americana to Robyn-indebted dance pop. Meg Duffy’s new album as Hand Habits radiates un: It’s unburdened, unbridled, unhurried, unashamed, unfamiliar, unfussy; it unearths, unravels, uncovers, understands. And — although this is one of music writing’s most pathologically overused uns — it’s unprecedented.

Unlike 2019’s spare, gorgeously still “placeholder”, “Fun House”, out October 22nd on Saddle Creek Records, is lush, bright, in constant forward motion, in a constant state of change. Duffy’s third and best record, it possesses some grimy, earthen magic — the result of hard work, to be sure, but also of their seemingly alchemical connection with producer Sasami, who pushed Duffy to find a more daring, more truthful place within their music. “For this record, I was allowing myself to shine a light on memories and experiences that I’ve had,” Duffy says, “Rather than running away from them.”

Hand Habits, the project of Los Angeles-based musician Meg Duffy (they/them), is back with their new album Fun House is the most ambitious Hand Habits album to date. Produced by Sasami Ashworth (SASAMI) and engineered by Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), the record was not intended as a reaction to the pandemic, but it was very much the result of taking a difficult, if much-needed, moment of pause. Emboldened by going into therapy and coaxed by Ashworth to push the songs into unexpected new shapes, the resulting music is more acutely personal and stylistically adventurous than anything you’ve heard from Hand Habits before. The push/pull of styles, paired with songs that move deftly between the present and past, give the record a wildly diverse, hall of mirrors quality that befits its name. Where previous Hand Habits records could be fairly insular affairs, Fun House feels ebullient, lush, a fully-realized conversation.

Although Duffy stresses that Fun House is decidedly not a pandemic record — and with its blushing synths and rangy solos and grandiose acapella breaks, it certainly doesn’t sound like one — they say that the seeds of the album began as the pandemic took off. After years of touring and session work, both as Hand Habits and in the bands of  Sylvan Esso and Kevin Morby, among others, Duffy was worn out. “I had been touring for a very long time, and not addressing kind of, like bare minimum self care, and emotional responsibility. And I think I started getting really angry. And I couldn’t really understand where that anger was coming from,” they say. Therapy was a good start in addressing their emotional discontent, as was a new, more honest, more trusting record. “I couldn’t continue to not address the unease I think that I had been experiencing for a long time. I think it would have been easier. But maybe not in the long run.”

Hand Habits – “Aquamarine” from Fun House out October 22nd, 2021

Fun House

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