Hookworms

The Hum

Weird World/Domino

Nov 11, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Hookworms' debut, Pearl Mystic, was widely fetedour friends at Drowned in Sound named it Album of the Yearso interest is high the second time around. For most fivesomes made up of 20-somethings, the pressure and weight of expectation could be stifling; for this Yorkshire band, the opposite is true.

The intensity, so brooding on their first album, is here channelled into a more euphoric, energetic sound. From the squalling delirium of opener "The Impasse" through the demented motorik of "Radio Tokyo" to the dreaminess of "Off Screen," the album's title The Hum couldn't feel more inappropriate.

This is by no means a complete departure for Hookworms. The three instrumentals, "iv," "v," and "vi" are a direct continuation from the trio of similarly Roman numeral-inspired tracks from Pearl Mystic. Rather, the biggest change is in terms of scope. "Off Screen" is the one genuine slow song and perhaps demonstrates this best. The songs have a widescreen, cinematic sound to them, but remain very much the band's own; they sound like hat-tips to the likes of U2 and Springsteen, drenched in reverb-laden guitars and obfuscated with selective distortion.

For all its critical acclaim, no one could argue that Pearl Mystic was ever going to have much commercial traction, but on The Hum, the likes of "On Leaving" and closer "Retreat" are underlain with frothy keyboards that imbibe them with a touch of pop brilliance. It's as if the band didn't put away their Can and Killing Joke records so much as they started mashing them up with Beach Boys ones in a DJ set. (www.parasiticnematode.blogspot.co.uk)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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