This expanded seven track reissue of Hookworms eponymous 2011 debut ep provides a perfect jumping off point for the uninitiated and a welcome addition for those already converted.
The Leeds psychedelic, noise-core, space-rock quintet, named only by their initials so as not to distract from their sound, are a spectacularly immersive sonic experience. The seven tracks here slowly build to ear-shattering plateaus, take you on unexpected detours and slowly fade like embers, dying out with the occasional pop and hum or eerie bird song merged with distorted feedback. You know, your standard easy-listening pop tunes. If ever a release suited the prescription pill packaging of Spiritualised’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space then this is surely it. One of the tracks is even named ‘Medicine Cabinet’ aptly washing over you like codeine for the eardrums.
Whilst the band may have a reputation for thunderous volume and repetition it would be wrong to dismiss them as one dimensional. No sensible parasite looks to win over a host by force alone and so it is with Hookworms and your subconscious. Yes they invade your very being by knocking you sideways with screaming guitars, but they’ll get to work on many levels once you’ve surrendered. ‘Resolution’ and ‘Teen Dream’ have what could even be described as euphoric choruses, kind of, and the vocal work and arrangement on all tracks bear repeated listens, uncovering new, rich seams of rhythm and melodic invention each time round.
Listening to this collection of songs puts me in mind of a resident band in Twin Peaks, hypnotising a legion of jerking, elated bodies, yelping high pitched Crowleyesque invocations directly into the audiences psyche before slowly releasing control and allowing the crowd to emerge, shaking like southern baptists, reborn into their purified souls.
Or just a really loud, really good old fashioned rock and roll trip from an alternate reality. Either way I’m left feeling fuzzy, ears ringing with a broad smile ready to dive back in.
Review by Sean Daly
Listen to ‘Teen Dreams’ below: