AWOLNATION wanted their new album, Here Come the Runts, to walk new ground; to embrace the organic and take a step back from the electronic. This is abundantly — and perhaps to some, surprisingly — apparent on “Handyman”. Starting with an acoustic guitar and Aaron Bruno’s soft vocals, the clip uses gentleness to tell a love story in all its complexity.
Fans of AWOLNATION will find pleasure in what remains the same: the song retains their signature move of rapid emotional and sonic growth, the melody is as catchy as ever, and there is still a darkness at the heart of the beauty: an understanding that life is more layered than at first it seems. But the continuous acoustic plucking and restrained vocals give a delicate air that hasn’t been found on their previous releases. This is new territory, and it works.
The accompanying clip, directed by Ravi Dhar, works with the same moods. Shot in California — and certainly making the most of the picturesque location — “Handyman” is given context with an older man as he fixes up an old truck only to be thrown into memories of his life and his love. Surfing. Road trips. Dancing. And the band as they lay down the song. It’s all here, and it’s all shot with warm light that compliments the folky mood of the song.