Hammonds, Harrington & Destroy

Sing The Apocalypse

Written by: TL on 14/11/2012 22:25:09

While I base this strictly on subjective impression and well, guesswork, I still feel fairly safe assuming that Denmark's Hammonds, Harrington and Destroy are probably the least hyped 'super group' in the world. It is weird because the other bands HH&D's members play/have played in - Hatesphere, The Fashion, The 20belows, Decorate Decorate and Black City - are all names of some reknown in their respective scenes, yet judging from the times I've seen the band live and from the general lack of buzz around them, it feels like I'm in a very small minority, having looked forward to the band's debut album "Sing The Apocalypse". Of course, considering the very different ball parks each band member comes from, fans haven't had much of a chance to guess at what HH&D would sound like having come together.

As it happens though, their music has turned out a brand of angry indie-punk, full of stories about sailors lost at sea, of alcoholic fathers neglecting their sons, and of similarities to as different bands as Against Me and Japandroids. Basically the main takeaway impression here is that singer Jakob Printzlau (who sang in defunct indie rock sensation The Fashion and directed the video for Bring Me The Horizon's "It Never Ends" among other things) is going through life pissed as hell on his father, who by the sound of it was more busy sailing the seven seas and drinking himself to death than taking care of his son. There's a believable feeling of frustration in the way Printzlau spits his lyrics, and joined by the guitar work of Martin Rasmussen (formerly of Decorate Decorate) the two of them create a solid melodic identity for the band.

Unfortunately however, despite my having much enjoyed several of the band's songs in the live environment, I can't help but to notice that there's a tendency in pace and production here that's carried over from the live performances, that seems to indicate that HH&D are as much torn between indie and punk as they are capitalising from the two. I get this impression from how these guys do not seem to really commit to the anger at the heart of their music, considering how an echo on the vocals and occasions of oddly tempered rhythms often create an odd sense of distance between the actual sound and the otherwise direct feeling of the lyrics and the dynamics of the compositions.

It's a bit of a shame, because the band's sense for dynamics actually make a really good reason for why there should be more buzz around them than there is. The consistently deft surges from verses to numerous catchy choruses on here easily give "Sing The Apocalypse" merit, as does the knack for squeezing in clever little fill melodies from Martin Rasmussen's guitar. Song's like "White Flags", "Father", "Only This Ocean", "Death To Traitors", "Weekend Fires", "Always Other Gallows" and especially closing ballad "Let's Get Together And Fall Apart" all boast examples of punk-pop at its finest, with phrases that stick to the mind irreversibly after just a few listens. Especially the pre-chorus to the latter burns itself into your brain with the words: "I never made friends with alcohol, but that doesn't mean I don't act like an asshole [...] I never really say that I'm sorry although I'm an expert at making excuses, and though it runs in the family to drink ourselves to death, I think that I'll take my chances with thirst!"

Overall, despite the fact that I would understand a desire to retain a unique personality by giving the sound an indie twang, I have a hard time getting around the feeling that the songs could've been realised more fully with full-on Against Me-type bitterness. That being said though, catchy songs always prevail, and I also can't help but to think you need to be all kinds of stubborn to make it through just a little handful of runs through "Sing The Apocalypse" without soon finding yourself humming multiple tunes from it - whether you'll admit to being endeared by the sound or not. That's the simple, yet elusive power of devilishly catchy music, and when it is present as consistently as is the case here, I'm just always going to go ahead and reward it:

Download: Let's Get Together And Fall Apart, White Flags, Only This Ocean
For The Fans Of: Japandroids, Against Me, Titus Andronicus, The Fashion
Listen: facebook.com/hhdestroy

Release Date 05.11.2012
Snaps Destroy / Playground Music

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