Say Hi – Um, Uh Oh

It was initially difficult to phrase how I feel about Say Hi’s seventh album. This was surprising, because my immediate reaction to the first track was “Oh, this song! Where have I heard this before?” Perhaps it’s just that: Eric Elbogen (formerly Say Hi To You Mom)’s low-key guitar-driven indie rock’s strongest point is its familiarity. This is easy to listen to and easy to like; there aren’t any big risks here, but the tracks are no less friendly and you’ll be no less ready to get down. Lyrics are where the songs are given that little bit of extra polish. “We’ve played our only record back to front infinity / When it’s dark, all I can see is the whites / Of her green eyes,” sings Elbogen on “Dots on Maps,” a song about waning passion. Things take a finger-snappin’ turn on “Devils” where there’s a great sarcastic chorus: “Woe is me indeed!” Although moody at times, this never fails to feel warm and approachable: “Trees Are A-Swayin’” is so good-natured that I can practically see a crowd strolling and singing through a sunlit city pg-13 rom-com style. Hints of minimalist blues, sunny pop, and soulful indie-rock reflection keep things interesting. The finished product feels very full, thoughtful, and unaffected – and there’s nothing wrong with that. (Barsuk Records, Adrienne Yeung