The Hum

Written by: BV on 14/11/2014 16:44:15

Hookworms are still quite the enigma for me. When I first got into them with their album “Pearl Mystic” in 2013, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the band and the sound they were actually going for. At times it was shoegaze, then it became space-punk and eventually settled into ambient pieces as well. However, this not-so-farfetched mix and match of musical expressions quickly gained something of a following – explaining why the follow-up album, “The Hum”, has already been released a mere year later.

Opening with “The Impasse”, the tempo has been supercharged from the get-go – immediately drawing on a very strong presence of Hawkwind inspirations, mixed with a vague hinting at outfits like Destruction Unit. Rest assured, however, since the super-charged tempo has only strengthened the devil-may-care attitude of the band, with the deliriously maddening vocals being but the tip of this sonic iceberg, with plenty of oscillations, fuzz and strange organs residing well below the surface of it all. Fading directly into “On Leaving”, the style changes almost instantaneously as the tempo slows down. Fueled by a slightly calmer soundscape driven by an organ playing droning single-notes and a slightly distorted guitar playing little hooks here and there, the shift from album opener “The Impasse” is quite noticeable and bears a warning of a quite schizophrenic listening experience - much in the same vein as "Pearl Mystic".

As a follow-up, “The Hum” leans on some of the same ideas as its predecessor, utilizing the same ambient interludes in between songs, this time naming them “IV”, “V” and “VI” respectively – thereby linking the two albums together in more ways than them originating from the same band. “Beginners” marks itself as a high-point of the album for me, personally, as it condenses the various aspects that make up Hookworms soundscape together, distilling them into the most satisfying, albeit not most accessible, track on “The Hum” – complete with maddening vocal work, furiously driven drones and something as strange as entrancing, delicate vocal harmonies in the background of a fast-paced space-punk onslaught.

Finally culminating in “Retreat”, I find myself wondering if there have actually been any genuinely noticeable developments in the Hookworms soundscape. To be completely honest the album seems strikingly familiar in the best way possible, delivering what one might have expected of Hookworms – it is, however, this apparent familiarity that is also the album’s greatest vice as there is hardly anything surprising on the album. It’s all incredibly well-done, but the impact seems to lack the same force that their debut oozed of.


Download: The Impasse, Retreat, On Leaving
For The Fans Of: Destruction Unit, Telstar Sound Drone, Hawkwind
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 10.11.2014

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