First things first, Detroit trio Hairshirt sounds nothing like the scraggly mandolin-laden R.E.M. song. Nor does their music sound as scratchy and uncomfortable as the hairshirt itself, or cilice, worn by some Catholics as a sign of penance. It’s likely instead that the band takes its name from the adjective hairshirt, meaning austere. Bosnian-born Amir Husak claims to have learned English from Iggy Pop, and the band to be influenced by everyone from Can and Echo & the Bunnymen to Madonna. The noise the trio kicks up on their Lover Politician EP is indeed austere—dynamic with a minimum of superfluity. Sequencers and synths bubble and murmur just enough to highlight the groove on “Trapper Keepers”, or set the mood on “Rubber Hands”. For fans of moody, electric pop a la Interpol or any other group of sharp-dressed, attractive, musical men with fuzzy guitars and nice watches.
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