Ten Hands High – ‘6 Weeks’

Leeds-bred, London-based Ten Hands High’s indie summer track ‘6 Weeks’,which came to fruition after the rediscovery of an old instrumental from 2014, tells the story of a character “that doesn’t want to get too deep into a summer relationship”. The abrupt beginning and end, which launches into and out of an energetic tizzy, perfectly simulates that short but sweet nature of a summer break.

The upbeat delivery of the somewhat bitter message in “I don’t wanna call it a fling, but you’re not my everything” makes it a spiritual opposite of the well-known summer fling song, Summer Nights, which is referenced in the lyrics “We lived that summer love sound // But Danny Zuko’s not who you’ve found”. In the case of ‘6 Weeks’, it isn’t outside forces that make it a momentary relationship, but the explicit want for non-commitment.

The intro has multiple guitar lines interact and complement each other, plucky and delayed, that linger and remerge with the start of the first verse. This ‘reset’ of sorts gives more significance to the lyrics, and separates the new guitar and drum line. Volume swells in the background give it a more dreamy and atmospheric sound, evoking siren calls by the beach, nostalgic in tone.

The chorus gears up into a more upbeat setting, and has a lyrically interesting cognitive dissonance – though it’s “we” who know it’s a fantasy, and “we” who don’t want to fall too deep, it’s “you” who is afraid to see that “you” are my summer girl, and I’m not “your” world. It feels as if this character is trying to convince themselves as much as their summer girl. In fact, it’s followed up by “Of course I’m a bit gutted now it’s done // But it doesn’t feel right without the sun”. Our character knows that it should be a momentary fling, but still has some longing for the freedom and fun of a summer break that allowed their love to blaze.

The end of the chorus staggers out with a short drum riff, returning to a slightly more personal feel. The near-speaking quality of the post-chorus recreates the sort of intimacy expected from a break-up, but it is quickly echoed by reverbed guitar, calling ahead to the next chorus.

The end of this next chorus transitions into a more stripped-back breakdown, that repeats “blinded by our love, it’s on fire”, then begins to build back up with harmonious vocals into the agreeable breakneck speed of the chorus. A one last “I’m not your world” is emphasised and repeated, with extra background vocals into an outro that is exceedingly like the intro riff. The abrupt ending, alongside the track’s overall beachy vibe, feels like being thrown into the deep end. Under the water and unable to hear anymore.

In a music demo breakdown, bandmember Joe explained that certain guitar lines were in reference to The 1975’s ‘Me & You Together song’ and the similarity is palpable. The bright, plucky ‘song of the summer’ style riffs put the two songs as sister tracks. In particular, the last post-chorus repetition of “I’m not your world” is directly reminiscent, but parallel, of The 1975’s repetition of “I’ve been in love with her for ages”.

Ten Hands High started out to tremendous success in 2019, with gigs in multiple cities. Though it’s a shame that 2020 has halted any in-person performances, their continued creative output is a great sign of the band’s viability from now on. If a summer fling track is anything to go by, what’s on the table for autumn?