The Hated’s 1986 demo version of “What Was Behind” is one of my favorite examples of the superiority of lo-fi. The sound is a little muddy, distant, fuzzed-out and worn. Even when it was newly released, the song gave your brain the illusion you were unearthing a secret and forgotten artifact. And more than that, the tattered texture of the music reflects the tone of the lyrics, which reveal a desperate narrator unraveling from some unspecified pain.
Hermanas y Hermanas’ new eponymous EP provides the same lo-fi trickery for all the right reasons. Like The Hated, the local band uses weathered riffs to emphasize the weathered feeling of too much heartache and despair. “Empty Vessel” and “We Knew it When” both seem to be about what happens when two people can’t manage to connect—or won’t. All four catchy emo-punk tunes feature satisfying guitar solos and raise-your-lighter choruses perfect for a live crowd, which isn’t surprising considering that the band includes Alex Key of Total Combined Weight and Keith Moore of Bird’s Mile Home. These guys know how to stir tales of affliction into a stew of drunken chords without losing their edge.
Hermanas y Hermanas play the VFW Sat., Dec. 3, at 9 PM, along with Bull Market, The Budgets, Raziel and Dirty Jim. $5.