A big, hearty salad of sound is the way to describe Hysterical Stars by Head of Femur. Musicians Matt Focht (vocals, guitar, also of Bright Eyes), Ben Armstrong (vocals, keyboards, drums, ex-Commander Venus) and Mike Elsener (vocals/guitar, also of Solar Wind) form the backbone of this Nebraska based indie rock “supergroup.” On their second full length album, Head of Femur has brought in a large number of additional musicians to ad diversity to the mix. Where else can you hear a trumpet, gong, glockenspiel and violin all wrapped up in a pop album?
The vocals smack of Elvis Costello, but can’t be firmly categorized, as the harmonies are silky smooth with dashes of The Beach Boys and Roxy Music, mixed with a fun and funky sound. The standout track is the final number “Jack And The Water Buffalo,” which is a nice tease to set your chops to until Head of Femur’s next effort arrives. It will certainly be interesting to see how they can top themselves after Hysterial Stars.