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Say Hi To Your Mom says hi! @ The Green Room, 2/04

Posted by Jade / April 3, 2007


Say Hi To Your Mom seemed nice enough, a bit nervous and out of sorts probably due to their exhaustive (and exhausting) 7-week tour. And really, any band striking out on the The Clap Your Hands Say Yeah path, all proudly self-released on self-founded record label (a trend for bands with sentences as names?), deserves kindness.

You understand why I worried for them after this opening banter:

Eric (lead of Say Hi To Your Mom): We're Say Hi to Your Mom from Seattle, Washington.

(Audience responds with complete and utter silence. You could hear crickets chirping.)

Eric: Um. In the United States?


Eric: Okay! We’re going to play a few songs now.

It seemed like the crowd was ready to be disappointed, and to be honest I didn’t expect much either. I knew nothing about Say Hi To Your Mom, and before arriving at the show I assumed unfairly that their name was some sort of reference to the whole MILF sense of humor—snide, appealing to suburban 15-year-olds, that kind of thing.

Luckily Say Hi To Your Mom is much, much better than that. The songs were mature, earnest and full of vampires (apparently vampires=effective metaphor for love and romance. Who knew?). The drums were snappy, the keyboard was pretty and hooky, and the guitar kept the songs moving along. Vocal harmonies were dead-on, as was the timing. While SHTYM is essentially a solo project for front-man Eric Elbogen (the drummer and keyboardist were hired for the tour) you wouldn’t know it from how the three shared the stage, perfectly keyed in to one another. This was a tight, perfect indie-rock band. They won over the audience easily, and I found myself head-bopping along to all the songs.

02042007sayhitoyourmom2.jpg Too bad I can’t remember a single one. What I mean to say is that Say Hi To Your Mom is good, but unremarkably good. They are solid, but average. The music is inoffensive, even pleasing to listen to, but so generic I found it hard to compare them to any other band since they sound so much like all of them. There’s The Shins. There’s The Postal Service. I’m a synth-pop indie-rock fan big time, but this is not the genre at its finest; this is at, “Well, that’s fine.”

Which I should emphasize is fine. “Let’s Talk About Spaceships” is inspired and catchy in all the right ways, while “Sweet Sweet Heartkiller” stands out as a shining example of just how much fun pop can be.

I expected terrible and came away with good, which really isn’t bad… it’s just kind of unmemorable.

Opening for Say Hi To Your Mom was Is That The Sound of My Voice?* Invoking the cute folksiness of Tilly and The Wall, Is That The Sound of My Voice? hooted, dinged and clarineted through their set. Very lovely, simple songs to like instantly.

*(My own personal note: Is length the new thing in band names? Are we over “The (insert noun here)” as a band name? I pray, please don’t let full paragraphs come into vogue, I just don’t think I could take that much acronyming.)

Photos by Thierry Poisson



josef / April 4, 2007 at 10:32 am
I recently saw Say Hi To Your Mom in Philadelphia with +/- and Bishop Allen. They're actually one of my favorite bands right now. It's the sullen electronic sound that gets me. They're subtle. And the lyrics are great. Even though they did play Let's Talk About Spaceships, I was a little dissapointed that they didn't play more tracks from Numbers & Mumbles like Pop Music of the Future or Hooplas Involving Circus Tricks. Maybe they did in Montreal, but in Philly they were opening for Bishop Allen so their set was a little shorter.
It's always hard to judge a band when they're live though. Some bands are better live than on a CD, and for bands like Say Hi To Your Mom I think you lose a little bit of the nuances of their (or, his) music that makes them great.

Oh and let's not forget "... and you will know us by the trail of the dead", whose name is not only long, but also features and ellipses. Yikes.
jade / April 5, 2007 at 01:00 pm
hi josef,
i thought about what you wrote some more, and also went back to the band's websites to listen to their songs recorded. i wonder if playing on a) a monday night (when even members of the opening band were sneaking away halfway through SHTYM's set) and b) playing with new band members who are pretty new acquaintances of eric's affected the show--i gather that eric used to play with good friends when he was in NY but since making the move to seattle three months ago, he's had to somewhat reestablish himself...
just a thought...
thanks so much for your comment, it was great to get a new perspective on the band.
and also, let's not forget The Boy Least Likely To--oof, a mouthful.

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