Written by: PP on 08/06/2009 16:33:21

Here's a release that I've been toying around with for a good month and a half now without really knowing what to say or think about it. Should I applaud Belgium's Hitch for their natural experimentation with off-tune instrumentation and quirky sound effects, or should I bin them for sounding like they're doing it just for the sake of doing it? You see, I've listened to "Clair.Obscur" from start to finish at least twenty times, so I can with confidence say that there's definitely something lurking underneath that I haven't discovered yet, but the songs still haven't quite opened to me so I'm not sure as to whether that 'something' is going to make this album incredible or terrible. Sounds weird I know, but Hitch love playing with strange sounds and off-tune melody so much that unless your ears are trained in super-quirky-and-strange experimentalist music from birth, I have a feeling that you'll be thinking along the same lines as I after a few listens.

Why would I go out of my normal routine to give "Clair.Obscur" a chance for this long? A quick look at the band's credentials should make you understand: this band has shared a stage with such legendary acts as At The Drive-In, Mudhoney, and Cave In, all bands that I have deep admiration for, so they must be doing something right to be allocated that coveted support slots, right? Anyway. Basically, Hitch are an indie-tinged, noise-obsessed post-hardcore/post-rock band who remind me of These Arms Are Snakes, Quicksand, and oddly enough, Fugazi, all at the same time. They've got the sound of original post-hardcore from late 90s that makes me say Quicksand, but they've also got the ability to fuse together the indie-explosiveness of Fugazi together with the sheer oddness of These Arms Are Snakes. An example? "Choking On Air" starts off with slow experimentation and howled clean vocals, then all of a sudden morphs into a scream-fest for just a few moments before it's back to the weird drum pattern and off-tune singing. That's all three bands in one song for you, and the same happens in different formats and manners on each of the album's 11 tracks.

So what to do about rating this album? I honestly have no idea if I really like this or really hate this, but most likely it's both at the same time. It's as if there's an invisible wall right in front of me, I can see there's a female on the other side but the image is so blurry that I can't really make out whether she's a babe or a monster. So take my words with a grain of salt, because I've seldom been this confused about a release and how I feel towards it. That's why I'm going to go with a relatively safe rating, one that isn't terrible but isn't great either.


Download: Dirty Trixxxxxxx, Art Nouveau, Choking On Air
For the fans of: These Arms Are Snakes, Quicksand, Fugazi
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.05.2009
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