Hookworms - Microshift (2018 new album)

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So this then. They've practically escaped mention on ILM before outside a couple of specialist rolling threads for indie rock / drone people.

Anyway, brief bit of context: Leeds-based, fiercely independent five piece, self-manage, self-produce, do all their own artwork, most of them still work as teachers and civil servants and such apart from singing keyboardist producer MJ. Heavy wafts of fuzz, 9-track albums with 5-6 'songs' (if you can pick the melodies out from beneath the distortion) and a handful of droney interludes. Postrock? Not quite. Shoegaze? Not quite. Studio got flooded in 2015 so they had to start again and their new record is just...

Amazing, frankly. As far as I'm concerned. They bought a bunch of new electronic gear as well as guitars and made... a synthpop record? Not quite. One track sounds like a cross between Anna Meredith and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, which feels improbable. Lyrically it deals with depression and anxiety in an incredibly direct and touching way.

And they wrote tunes. Several tunes. Really good tunes. (No interludes on this record, just a lovely 3-minute instrumental). Negative Space got loads of airplay on 6music around Christmas and really caught my attention. A chorus. Emotional heft. A really lush groove.

Rob had played the debut at record club (https://devonrecordclub.com/2013/10/30/hookworms-pearl-mystic-round-56-robs-choice/) and I'd bought that and the follow-up, but this is one of those moments when an artist spectacularly levels up.

I imagine the ILM hivemind will hate it, but you never know.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 9 February 2018 07:25 (one year ago) Permalink

I thought this was going to be great after the excellent slow build of the first track but then they just started pulling out all the off-the-peg droney Krautrock moves and the whole thing just became progressively more formulaic. The Guardian review was really tiresome as well, just going "wow Neu! Spaceman 3 Suicide" as if these weren't completely done-to-death reference points in 2018 and they don't bring anything new to the table other than a kind of 00s indie yelp that also feels tired. Like if you want something comfortingly familiar I can see how it would vaguely appeal but the bands mentioned about were never about that.

The sound bothered me as well, like I get how dyanamic range is important but this is just quiet even when it's meant to be noisy, and it doesn't have the space or clarity or textural detail to compensate for that, it just sounds middy and muddy even on big speakers.

Matt DC, Friday, 9 February 2018 09:39 (one year ago) Permalink

I haven't heard it yet, but their debut was one of my favourite albums of that year.

Full of bile and Blue Nile denial (Turrican), Friday, 9 February 2018 13:17 (one year ago) Permalink

haven't gone back to it too much, respect for getting it all together after the flood

thought it was ok though! i miss the lo fi noise of the first album tho...

nxd, Friday, 9 February 2018 13:47 (one year ago) Permalink

this is really excellent. loved the hum, wouldn't have expected this particular evolution, but have been listening all week and loving it.

Roberto Spiralli, Friday, 9 February 2018 13:48 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh look, Matt DC is being dismissive of something I’m being positive about.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 9 February 2018 15:45 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm extremely dismissive of their previous stuff because I've heard it, but I'm willing to believe they've undergone a Horrors-esque conversion to being decent (hopefully without Horrors' subsequent conversion to being crap again)

imago, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:47 (one year ago) Permalink

I was being dismissive of it on Facebook earlier this week in fairness.

Matt DC, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:57 (one year ago) Permalink

*hears Static Resistance* "Huh, motorik Geddy Lee _is_ the best Geddy Lee mode."

I am liking the album a lot, regardless of my Geddy opinions.

Hunt3r, Friday, 16 February 2018 16:44 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

I've just got around to hearing this and yeah, absolutely love this. I loved their first album, didn't enjoy their second album as much, but this is their best record yet.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 29 May 2018 19:52 (eight months ago) Permalink

five months pass...

TW: sexual, physical, emotional abuse. Concerning Matthew Johnson (MJ from Hookworms) pic.twitter.com/GulQcqDrEp

— Lan (@alannamcardle_) October 30, 2018

devvvine, Tuesday, 30 October 2018 17:37 (three months ago) Permalink

fuck's sake.

meaulnes, Tuesday, 30 October 2018 18:13 (three months ago) Permalink

They've broken up.


— HOOKWORMS (@HOOKWORMS) October 31, 2018

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 31 October 2018 22:07 (three months ago) Permalink

Awful. Love the band. Have spoken with MJ lots via Instagram over the years and he always seemed lovely, so this is a real shock. Uergh.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 31 October 2018 23:29 (three months ago) Permalink

MJ has denied it.


— mj (@familyscraps) October 31, 2018

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 1 November 2018 07:20 (three months ago) Permalink

The rest of the band have done the right thing here, commendably quickly and decisively.

Matt DC, Thursday, 1 November 2018 10:00 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, he’s been hoist by his own petard here. Given the stance he’s taken on things like this over the years the band couldn’t do anything but. I half expected him to put his hands up and admit culpability but of course no one ever does.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:49 (three months ago) Permalink

i really like this years release a lot, this is disappointing.

false allegiance to victims rights for fame and profits is gross but not unheard of (see E. Schneiderman, i guess?). it’s, uh, not nearly as bad as sex assault so let’s not get it twisted.

i hate the venue of this “court” but i will take the extraordinary claims to be true, and i hope the victim is getting reliable help.

Hunt3r, Thursday, 1 November 2018 13:27 (three months ago) Permalink

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