This week we feature Oakland-based trio HIJK who released their debut full length album The Pen and The Letter earlier this month. We first heard the band while they were still known as Hijack the Disco, including an earlier version of “Elly & Iffy” on an early Mission Creek mix and awaiting the full length album that we had heard was in the works. That song’s chorus has been stuck in our brains since, and it’s a joy to lead off this week’s episode with the album version, which retains all of the addictiveness, but fleshes the song out with a bigger, full sound. It’s an appropriate entry point to a rich and addictive album.
Recorded over a sixteen-month period, The Pen and The Letter represents a significant achievement for this difficult-to-pigeonhole group, who sound as comfortable with catchy, memorable choruses as they do eschewing standard verse-chorus-verse progressions on more complex numbers. Noteworthy too, is the album’s sonic complexity, as the band worked with a skilled and experienced producer who helped encourage them to experiment with unique production techniques to find the right sounds for their music, a process which we learned has significantly altered the way they now listen to and appreciate music.
We chatted for quite a while with Dave, Mike and Trevor, discussing a number of songs on the record, in addition to how the band got started and some touring difficulties around the US-Canadian border. In addition to the interview, we’ve also included four tracks from the new album. The album has been receiving excellent reviews and when you listen to the episode, it’s easy to see why.
The band doesn’t have any Bay Area shows lined up, but you should definitely check out some more tracks from The Pen and The Letter at HIJK’s MySpace page and pick up a copy at their web site or on iTunes.