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Music  >>  CDs  >>  Rock/Pop

Hookworms

Pearl Mystic

Hookworms Pearl Mystic
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Originally released in 2013. For a while now Leeds five-piece Hookworms have been terrorizing headlining bands across northern England and beyond, not through histrionics or gimmick, but through sheer sonic velocity and emotive intent. Often bracketed among the latest wave of psychedelic rock currently appearing in pockets around the UK, this tag is somewhat of a misnomer for a band whose use of repetition and reverb is not to open the third dimension or for some sort of flower-power escapism. Pearl Mystic is an absolutely thunderous statement of intent for Hookworms after a portentous couple of years of live shows and limited releases. The album's themes focus on a deeply personal narrative surrounding a lost relationship and a battle with depression that at its worst brought about, as the group's vocalist MJ puts it "a half-hearted suicide attempt". Thus songs like "Away/Towards" possess a gargantuan build-and-release infectious energy that juxtaposes with a subtext of a bi-polar approach to coping with loss. "Preservation", too, is in keeping with the group's live shows, though deals with existentialism, whilst several Raymond Carver influences are scattered in and among the bold textures of sound. "In Our Time" is perhaps the closest thing to escapism on the album, about a hill MJ would cycle up near Otley in Yorkshire after the end of his relationship, because it possessed his favorite view in the world. "Since We Had Changed" meanwhile is almost mantra-like in its constancy, new percussive elements joining those already on the record, whilst "What We Talk About" returns full circle to the first track's themes of depression, and emerges from mixed field recordings including a backwards taping of a Hare Krishna lecture played down the studio corridor. Certainly the production is lush, erring on the lo-fi side but contrasting that with a sense that every element has been pored over and deeply considered. Indeed, the most impressive thing about Hookworms is that, through this torrent of emotion, through their wild motorik and their thick slabs of noise that threaten to spill over, there's always the sense that they're in control of it all, so committed are they to this catharsis that they refuse to throw any of it to chance. Recorded and produced in MJ's own Suburban Studios.

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