The Leeds based band, Hookworms are entirely new to me. I literally only came across them last week after find a video of them performing at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club. I was astounded. I ordered my vinyl copy of their debut album Pearl Mystic and I was lucky enough to catch the postman on my way out of the house today, otherise I’d have had to wait until after the bank holiday to collect it from the Post Office. So… Three listens later and it is my new favourite album.
The first half of the opening eight and a half-minute opus Away/Towards is a torrent of reverb, loop pedals, wah, bass and disconnected voice, layer upon layer, building and building until it comes crashing into the second part, which although it reminded me of The Horrors a little, this is actually something that sounds much more driven and urgent. Form & Function, with its looping driven bass-line, gospel backing and hyper chant of ‘you’re losing yer faith’ is the kind of gem Primal Scream would come up with when they were hanging around with Beelzebub instead of models.
The third track is one of three instrumental interludes given just a lower-case roman numeral for a name. i is two minutes of feedback that sounds more like the sounds of a city at night and it flows smoothly into the spiky In Our Time. Since We Have Changed has a repeating bass line and tambourine that recalls The End by The Doors’ or The Velvet Underground; gradually drowned out by metronomic chants and ritualistic drones.
Preservation is something altogether different – a total turnaround in tempo, with its drums and almost Jane’s Addiction-esque vocals kicking and screaming its way out of its slumber. What We Talk About is a perfect Sci-Fi lullaby, with its gospel hints of Bobby Gillespie. again, but sounds entirely original and fresh and then iii allows the album three minutes to fade out in some haze as if it could have all been some Lynchian dream.
It would be lazy to pass this off as Shoegaze but there is so much more going on here. It has more in common with electronic music than it does psychadelica. It feels the same to me as Kraftwerk or Can, or soundtracks for films like Heat, Drive or Trent Reznor’s compilation for Natural Born Killers. It’s a late night soundtrack to a tripped out road trip killing spree on the edge of the city limits. This is the best album to come out of Yorkshire this year and easily sits nick to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as contender for my album of the year. See this band while you can. Next year, they will be massive.
PEARL MYSTIC is out now on the Nottingham based Gringo Records.
Nb. I’d love to have this band play Barnsley. They would be perfect for a NDR or Shotton Foundation gig. Definitely one for fans of the Barnsley bands Exit Calm, Toba Caldera, Black Lamps and This Condition.