BEAT CRAZY Erlichman, Holbrook, Nathan, Coggeshall, Hughes, and O'Hara (clockwise from top left).
Six-piece alt-pop crew Huge Face won’t leave my head. The band’s new single “Body War” is the culprit, a catchy four-minute tune that starts with a simple guitar riff before gliding into a shoegazey chorus that has been thumb-tacked to my cortex for the past week. It’s a pop nugget with a little extra pop from dual drummers Jacob Nathan and Mickey O’Hara, as heard on “Body War” and throughout the self-titled EP released earlier this year ($5 at hugeface.bandcamp.com). Any band willing to lug around two drum kits as opposed to one laptop deserves a shout.
Huge Face have been in business for just over one year, with members spread around the New England triangle that is Boston, Worcester, and Providence (drummer Jacob Nathan is the sound guy at AS220). Guitarist Shai Erlichman and bassist Adam Coggeshall provide vocals, with Jimmy Hughes on synths and Max Holbrook on lead guitar. I asked Nathan how and when the thought of implementing two drummers (both in studio and onstage) came about.
“Using two drummers was one of the ideas that helped form the band,” he said. “We wanted to emulate some of the crazy, programmed beats that you hear in modern pop music, but we also like truly ‘live’ music.”
Nathan noted the commitment it takes to have two drummers in a band. “It makes it way harder to transport gear, it’s a real challenge to record successfully, and some venues just are too small to fit all our gear.
“But we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t think it really added to the music.”
Nathan also said that the band will not play a gig unless both he and O’Hara can attend.
“All of us as a band prefer seeing two drummers over someone pushing buttons and standing there with a sampler or laptop,” he said.
“Body War” proves that the band has honed its sound following the self-recorded EP released in February.
“When we went to make out first EP, we had only played together as a band for a few months and we basically showed up at friend’s recording studio and bashed out all the tracks in an afternoon,” Nathan said. “We didn’t have a tremendous amount of time to tinker with certain tones and sounds.”
The band’s songwriting potential was in bloom on EP cuts “New Clip,” “Going to Hell,” and “Break the Hearts of Summer.” And the vocal delivery of “my mom and dad were making out in the park” from “Train to Win” may burrow its way into your life for a few days.
The EP was eventually mixed and mastered at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, and the band decided to return to MWM, where the “Body War” single was engineered and produced by studio maestros Seth Manchester and Keith Souza.
“Everything about recording and mixing at Machines With Magnets is wonderful, and we knew we wanted to work with Seth again,” Nathan told me.