All Work, No Play 

Chicago’s Hush Sound take lazy to new melodic highs with Like Vines.

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Chris Faller has bed head. Bad bed head. Big clumps of hair are firing off like rockets. Explosions are a possibility. And Faller isn’t even going to attempt to stop them. It’s his day off, one of the few the Hush Sound bassist has managed in the last couple years, and he’s going to indulge a bit.


“I’m being lazy,” he says proudly, adding that he just woke up a few minutes ago. It’s noon. “When we’re at home, we don’t like to work. We just want to have fun and hang out a bit.”


That’s what the kids are calling band practice these days. Because what The Hush Sound consider fun, other bands call work. The Chicago quartet is constantly running through songs, tackling new bits of melody, or retooling old material, simply because Faller and his cohorts'pianist Greta Salpeter, drummer Darren Wilson and guitarist Bob Morris'all get their jollies off an impeccable hook or the perfect four-part harmony.


That obsessing has paid off in a big way. The group have only been together officially for two years'Morris and Salpeter were playing around as a duo for a few years prior to that. In that time, though, The Hush Sound have managed to go from selling hundreds of CDs a night out of their truck to swapping BFF rings with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and releasing two records on It indie label Fueled by Ramen. The band’s shimmering pop has made fans out of jaded emo kids from coast to coast. They even scored a remix from electronic guru Tommie Sunshine for the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack.


“I don’t know, music just doesn’t feel like work to us,” Faller says, sounding suddenly bashful. “I know it sounds cheesy to say, but it really just flows from us. We can’t really stop it.”


And why would they want to? The Hush Sound are the closest a band has come to sounding like a sunbeam since Brian Wilson went loopy. Like Vines shines with crisp melodies and interwoven harmonies that make you feel like you need sunscreen. Like opener “We Intertwined”: The track has all the bounce of a Superball dropped from a hot-air balloon, Morris leading the band through the kind of indie-pop that owes as much to Ben Folds as it does the Beatles. Bounding piano lines gives way on the chorus to lightly toasted guitars. Voices are stacked like Legos. The whole thing is so happy it should be used in therapy.


And the rest of the disc isn’t much different. “A Dark Congregation” might seem to promise some sort of menace, but it’s all a lie. Lead single “Wine Red” could make a goth smile. And even a supposedly melancholic track like closer “You Are the Moon,” a somber piano ballad that features Salpeter gently moaning over a plodding melody, still somehow feels sunny'the last threads of light creeping over the horizon before nightfall.


“In the beginning, we just kind of lucked into our songs,” Faller admits. “But now, we really try to analyze the songs, figure how we can make things sound bigger, better. We don’t want to leave anything up to luck anymore.”


The Hush Sound are heading out on their first headlining tour this month. They are, of course, practicing for the occasion, working up a full hourlong set after spending the last year opening for groups like Fall Out Boy and The Academy Is.


“I just hope the kids don’t get bored with us,” Faller worries. “There are a lot of dynamics in our show. I hope they have the attention span.”


nIn the Venue
n219 S. 600 West
nWednesday, Nov. 8
n6:30 p.m.

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Jeff Inman

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