Photo: Jacob Boll

Hand Habits surrenders to empathy on “Clean Air”

“I can no longer stand at the gates of your love”, Meg Duffy, aka Hand Habits, softly croons over the lush majesty that is “Clean Air”, the latest single from their forthcoming third album Fun House, which is produced by Sasami Ashworth. During the pandemic, Duffy spent their time catching up on experiences and memories that have been buried in favor of the frantic pace of a touring musician. For Duffy, that pace was probably more frantic than most, as a prolific collaborator with the likes of Kevin Morby, Perfume Genius, and Sylvan Esso.

The black and white video (directed by V Haddad) depicts a typically kinetic concert experience in slow motion, shaping a subtle contrast with the song’s resonant, big-hearted pop sound. About the song, Duffy says: “When writing songs for Fun House, I had become exhausted and bored by the idea of writing more songs out of blame, spite, or anger. “Clean Air” is about finding clarity, leaning into acceptance, and acknowledging someone else’s experience as truth without blame or resentment, even when it differs from our own.”

On “Clean Air” Duffy lays all their cards at the table, looking at the past, present, and future with sympathy and deliberation. It has resulted in their most urgent, fully-formed music to date. “I slammed on the brakes and everything psychologically that I’d been pushing down and ignoring for the past few years suddenly flew to the foreground.”

Watch the video for “Clean Air” below.

Hand Habits’ new album Fun House arrives on October 22 through Saddle Creek (pre-order/save).You can find Hand Habits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.