Uh Huh Her is the musical collaboration of Camila Grey (Mellowdrone) and Leisha Hailey (The Murmurs, The L Word). The duo released a successful EP last year, and promised to follow it up with a full-length this year. Common Reaction is a good album, but not at all what I was expecting after listening to the EP for most of the past year.
Last year, I favorably reviewed I See Red, which featured the track "Say So." The song is by far the one most likely to stick in your brain for days, which is why it's a bit disappointing to be given the watered-down version on the duo's first full-length album. Instead of something with an electro-pop energy, we're given a fairly standard pop/rock tune with little atmosphere beyond the straight-ahead rock beats.
Setting that disappointment aside, Common Reaction is a fine collection of synth-pop with a bit of a retro feel. The track "Explode" is a nod, if not a complete throw-back, to '80s chords. The production is crisp and modern, but the dark mood and keyboard arrangements are strongly reminiscent of quintessential 80s synth-pop ballad. The raw sexual heat of the lyrics adds to the ambiance, as well.
However, don't go looking for much depth in the lyrics. Although the insert devotes a full six panels to the poetry, it's by far the weakest aspect of the album. Some of the more uninspired lines are held up quite well with the musical arrangements, so unless you're paying close attention, you'll be too distracted by the beats and melody to notice. In any case, it's slightly better than the drivel on Top 40 radio.
The lead single ("Not a Love Song") is the song with the best poetry. It begins, "The scene is dead by morning / Slipping past the great divide / It chases over bridges / Spins me out of my own mind." If only the rest of the album could have lyrics half so evocative! Perhaps it would save Common Reaction from being simply pleasant background music. Good enough to have on while doing something else, but certainly not something that will make you stop and listen.