Not been able to get along to DRC for a while. But Tom’s fiendish theme (though hosted at my house as a result of those pesky ladies of book club), meant I could sneak in one of my possible albums of the year, having missed the annual DRC awards ceremony.
When Rob brought the band’s debut, ‘Pearl Mystic’, to Round 57 in 2013, it sounded like the most exciting new album I had heard in years. Rushed out to get it and been spinning it regularly ever since.
I picked up ‘The Hum’ on release and playing it every week since. The massive psychedelic/riffy/fuzzy/driven blow you up, over and down of the debut is still there but marginally improved by a bit more control and/or maturity? Anyway, like ‘Pearl Mystic’ the opening 2 tracks are killers but the rest of the album seems to hang together just a bit better and the way most tracks link in to each other, tips the balance on me preferring this to their debut.
Also by playing this album I found a way to sneak in/inflict some proper 1971 ‘space rock’ by Pink Floyd on fellow members as my track for the night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1kZ6M2aMvw I’d be surprised in the ‘worms haven’t heard it, but if not, they should.
As an extra DRC bonus, playing ‘The Hum’ on a different CD player than normal, meant I discovered that track 9 actually exists, as up until that night my other CD player had never found anything past track 8! Whoopee, a good night’s work all round, though I’m easily pleased these days.
Rob listened: I’m not sure why, but having loved ‘Pearl Mystic’ and having been excited to hear what they did next, I never got around to picking up ‘The Hum’. So, I was particularly pleased to hear it this evening, and not only because up to the point he pulled it out of his bag we all thought Graham was going to adhere to the theme by choosing a Pink Floyd record which, he would presumably try to persuade us, was better than the other two he has already treated us to.
There was some discussion between Tom and I, hoary old lovers of late 80s Velvets-loving drone rock, as to whether Hookworms sounded great because they are great, or because they channeled bands we had very previously decided were great, and furthermore, we tried to put ourselves in the shoes of a youngster who had never heard Loop or Spacemen 3 or CAN or MC5 or the sainted Velvets and wondered what this referential music would feel like first time out? Between us we decided it would feel like having your face melted off by a jet engine. And I think we wished we could go back and feel that way again.
Tom listened: In many ways Hookworms are about as far away from Shudder to Think as it would be possible for two guitar based bands to be. Whereas the latter band are skewed and tangential and deliberately awkward, Hookworms songs are warm and inclusive and draw you in through their groove and repetition.
I liked both Pearl Mystic and The Hum but I definitely preferred the sophomore outing – it seemed a bit more concise than the debut and the songs seemed to me to have greater definition and a bit more character. I particularly liked the ‘bonus’ track that Graham discovered he had!
I find it odd that a band that is so redolent of so many that Rob and I were drawn to when we were at university actually sounds so little like any of them. Don’t believe me? Well play The Hum next to Playing With Fire or Heaven’s End and you’ll hear a band that are taking themselves (for better or worse) far less seriously, sounding like they’re having more fun and producing a far less threatening/ominous sound. Hookworms sound is much more messy too. But there’s obviously enough of a similarity for Rob and I to drone on (get it?) for hours on end about the good old days when bands just got on with it and put their music out there, warts and all. Whilst I probably won’t be buying the album, I always enjoy hearing Hookworms on the radio and I imagine they would be fantastic live.