(Listen while you read!)
Rarely is a set of B-sides incredibly telling, especially from a band that broke up months prior to the collection's release. From unreleased demos to recorded jam sessions, these collections can seem scattered and discordant, appealing solely to devoted fanatics of the group.
But husband&wife knows what you know. From their debut full-length in 2006 (Operation Surgery) to their magnificent farewell "I'll Wait"/"Don't Rush" 7", the band's genuine spirit has remained ever-present throughout every release. Their honest, hardworking Hoosier mentality helped build a foundation for their Bloomington-born record label, Crossroads of America Records (XRA), which still thrives with support from beloved fans from around the state and beyond.
So you know this one's no different.
A collection of 24 unearthed demos, b-sides and covers make up this h&w release, giving the listener a career-spanning, behind-the-scenes look into the spirit of the group. Carefully crafted liner notes also accompany the release, with snapshots from the band's humble journeys. In fact, I would strongly recommend flipping through them while listening through these tunes.
Rather than delving into the collection's somewhat overwhelming entirety, here are some highlight tracks you should know about:
"Florida Hideaway (Unreleased Demo)"- A lost song from the band's collaborative stage, this tune was supposed to be on h&w's final full-length. The track's title is a misnomer, with lyrics from the songs actually being "floor to hide away." With driving pieces that are reminiscent of the group's 2010 Proud Flesh sound, this tune, along with others from their final chapter, showcases husband&wife at their best.
"Fits and Starts (Unreleased Demo)"- Another lost song presumably from the band's later years (it was used in a promo video for the "I'll Wait"/"Don't Rush" 7"), this one really makes you long for a mastered version. Packed with power, its choruses grab the ears as lead singer Mike Adams sings, "Fits into everything/Starts when I pull the string/And I swear I really wish I had it both ways."
"Crestfallen (Unreleased Demo)"- With this release, the band was kind enough to include some tracks that were simply unfinished ideas, giving the listener a behind-the-scenes, documentary-esque peak into their songwriting past. On this mostly improvised example, the "drum" track is made up of Tim Felton on garage door, Adams on hi-hat, Burke Sullivan on five gallon bucket suspended from the rafters, and Bryant Fox on an old container of Chinese food with notebook paper laid on top of it.
"Fell In Love At 22 (Starflyer 59 cover)"- Adams, a self-proclaimed "Starflyer 59 nerd," recorded this track in one evening for an online-only compilation titled "Translations." "It's kind of bad. Just skip this and listen to the original," the liner notes read. Eh, I'd say you should still give this treat a try.
"Our Waters Mix (Proud Flesh B-side)"- Cut from their fantastic 2010 release, this tune's tendencies definitely fit alongside others from this era of h&w. The song's explosive tone is reminiscent of Built to Spill, a band the dudes from Bloomington actually covered (check out their version of "The Weather" included as a part of this collection).
"I'll Wait (Demo)"- The demo of a song that has already been mentioned throughout this review from the band's final 7" release. Be sure and check this one out, along with the mastered version.
Stream or purchase I Know You Know What I Know via bandcamp