The world feels so much more energetic and frenzied as an adult. Hand Habits drags the questions of living this life at this time to the surface in their track “can’t calm down” — aptly titled in lower case to set the tone of anxiety disguised as apathy. This is what Meg Duffy has the power to achieve: an apathetic kilter to a track that is made of layered vocals, acoustic string-slides, and a heady guitar bridge. Nothing about this track should suggest casualness, and yet there is a chillness to each moment of questioning. What do we hold? How has it been engrained? Or, as Duffy sings it, “What if I can’t calm down and I don’t have that in my bloodline?”
“can’t calm down” comes off Hand Habits’ upcoming sophomore record, placeholder, and was released as a music video earlier this year. In the clip, the camera follows a vampire-version of Duffy as they search the LA nighttime for prey, eventually landing on a lovely vocalist with whom an ardent-if-cryptic exchange is shared. There’s ambiance, there’s drama, and there is some fine and spacious music filling in the background. Silhouettes and shadows, party lights in reds and blues, and the intimacy shared between strangers: these are the moments that rise from adulthood. Perhaps the past seems simpler, but the present gives Hand Habits the tools to create with.