Time to listen to something new, which has now been recommended to me by a few people. Hookworms are a band currently making some big waves in the UK, hailing from Leeds, Yorkshire, UK this five piece who only release the names of band members as initials have been going since 2010 and have been wooing audiences with a style of rock that has made fans from people such as Julian Cope, Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream and Charlotte Church (not a trio I ever thought I would write in the same sentence). This is their fourth album to be released according to Wikipedia (two of them have the same name, so not too sure if one of these is a re-release), but apart from that striking cover created by Idiot's Pasture I have little to no idea what to expect from this album. Let's the lords of chaos roll out.....
Starting with "The Impasse", the band start with a repetitive tone, some live drums and then it erupts into a glorious noise that would make the dead rise from their graves for one last dance before eternal rest. It reminds me of a rockier Holy Fuck, its energy is on fire and it also sounds exciting. This is something that can be missing in music at times, it sounds like a whirlwind of chaos is going around the band whilst they record this, what an opening track. This merges into the slightly calmer waters of "On Leaving", the band does not try to keep up that manic speed of "The Impasse", but this does not fall down to a dull stopper; it has a dirty bass keeping everything together. The slower and more brooding feeling of the song makes a perfect contrast to "The Impasse" being twice the length, even when they speed things up slightly towards the middle and have a great break in the middle (bass still going of course); the build throughout the number is crafted incredibly well. Track three is called "iv"; this seems to be a theme as there is a "v" & a "vi" later on. Starting with a wall of feedback and pretty much stays there. Before the end, it fades into a soft drone before the next track; if I am honest as an interlude this is effective, by compare it to someone like Sunn 0))) and it does not quite work.
"Radio Tokyo" brings back the whole band to another tune with a punk/psychedelic number that focuses on the keyboards and bass for the best duration of the number. When the guitars are playing, it is once again with a noise element to counter balance the rest of the band, making for a brilliant marriage of style and sound. "Beginners" is six minutes of contrasting styles and interlocking noises that make the hairs on my neck stand on edge. Once again the band come across like Holy Fuck for me, but with one foot firmly in the noise rock field and another in what I can only describe as a union of punk and psychedelic rock which transports the listener to a new place where all genres really mean nothing, only the good times that should be flowing once this tune is played. The six minutes go past in a blur and you will probably find yourself going for the repeat button. Track six is the aforementioned "v"; this is a forty second drone keyboard number which once again acts as a bridge to the next song.
That next number is called "Off Screen" and it merges seamlessly with "v", when the keys and guitar step back a bit, a slow and brooding number starts to unfold in front of the listener. This does not start with the crazy energy of some of the earlier numbers, this starts with a chill out vibe about it. When you start the song slow, you can either go loud; stay the same or a mixture of both. Hookworms go for options number three - in the middle the band drop a loud chorus which makes the quite moments stand out more. It is an interesting song and it shows that the band is not all about the upbeat tempo moments. The penultimate is another short number - the last in the Roman numeral series for this record called "vi". Once again it flows seamlessly from "Off Screen" much in the same way "v" introduced it. After a minute or so of feedback, it ends into an atmospheric empty sound. Again, it acts as an interlude between numbers; once over it makes way for "Retreat", this does not have the earlier manic energy, but it also does not need that opening vitriol. "Retreat" is the perfect mix of all the elements of the band and ends the album on a high.
This album is a short, sharp, shock of an album; it explodes with a ball of energy that makes this a release very good indeed. The length of the album is about right, it does not outstay its welcome and you would be a fool to miss out on this. I will admit that some of the interludes could have just been added to the end of other songs without the need for the separation. But this is a personal thing for me; it does not take anything away from this wonderful ball of energy. Check them out either live or purchase the album, it is fantastic.
8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track - The Impasse
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