The Hang Ups perfected the style of soft pop that bands like Carpenters had
embraced in the 1960s, counter the whole rock culture.
Brian Tighe and his
Hang Ups have the same function in post-Husker Du's Minneapolis.
Taking a lesson or two from neighbors Dangtrippers,
they recorded He's After Me (Clean, 1993) in a tone that swings from
power-pop (Waiting) to folk-rock (50,000 Ft, Runway).
Nothing more than sweet, charming and harmless.
After the single Comin' Through, the band added a second guitarist,
John Crozier, and the sound on So We Go (Restless, 1997) benefits
enormously from his hooks and licks.
Meticulously arranged, the record is delicate and almost baroque.
Brian Tighe is still the main composer, but the band contributes more than
just notes to his songs.
The bulk of the record is still made of sprightly folk-rockers
(Top of Morning, Corner Store, So We Go,
Walkin' Around), but increasingly the band can pen
soulful tunes in the classic pop tradition
(Clouds and bassist Jeff Kearns' Sittin' In My Room).
The lack of personality is still their weakness and their strength.
There is no social, political, autobiographical or whatever concern in these
ditties, just lovely arias to hum.
While punchier and noisier,
Second Story (Restless, 1999), produced by Mitch Easter and Don Dixon,
is a less balanced and organic album. The band indulges in a relaxed mode
that favors moody ballads like Caroline, Second Story and
The Long Goodbye.
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