by Alex Monzel
The Herms most recent album, Welcome All Tourists, opens with a melodic and instrumental introduction in “Parades,” lulling you into a false sense of security only to whack you in the face with the fast-paced rock n’ roll hit “ReadySet ‘94.” The rest of the album continues on this sort of switchback, with each track differing from the last. This lack of monotony, however, actually becomes monotonous during the latter half of the album. The first few instrumental tracks and abrupt transitions really provide the album with some depth and contrast, but the later ones like “Bezlo,” and “Nightcave” make your finger hover over the skip button. Some welcome relief from the arduous middle section is provided, however, in “A Light Away,” the penultimate track of the album. The return to the style of the first few songs leaves you with a sweet taste and a nice close to the record.
The Herms make it seem like they’re still finding their sound with this album. My personal hope is that they stick to the surfer indie rock vibe that they capitalize on with the first and final tracks of this album, but by no means am I implying that they should eliminate the instrumental/ experimental tracks in the middle. I’m just saying: don’t waste half an album on some mediocre jam session. They clearly have a strong grasp on music theory, but that’s no reason to flaunt it.
While the album (and the band themselves) certainly has a distinct sound, their refusal to adhere to one genre becomes a bit of a deficit after a while. It’s strange how a record can be full of good songs, but not be a good record. The Herms, by all appearances, are a talented group of guys who are very capable with their instruments, so I guess I’ll place the blame for this one on the producer.