It is hard to classify Sydney band RedHook – there is an electronic buzzsaw blitz with thundering percussion and at times a blistering wall of noise, all wrapped up in a sparkling pop mantle, with hip hop shades and choruses. It’s heavy metal psycho pop. But, throughout their new EP ‘Bad Decisions’, there is a common link: a steely melodic strength and a whole semi-trailer load of attitude.
Lead singer Emmy Mack talks about the process of making ‘Bad Decisions’:
’Bad Decisions’ feels like my Horcrux. There’s a chunk of my soul trapped in here. I wrote most of these lyrics when my mental health was circling the drain. I was going through a challenging time where I couldn’t understand my own mind; I felt like a freak, like a f@ck-up, like no matter what I did, I couldn’t stop hurting the people I cared about most. And I poured every last ounce of hatred, rage, confusion, frustration, depression and despair that I felt towards myself and the world around me into these six songs.
Indeed, the sheer brutality of attack in the music and the words confirms the emotions felt by Mack. The recording of the EP benefited from lockdown isolation, allowing the band to spend time expanding its horizons. Guitarist Craig Wilkinson, assistant producer on the EP alongside Dave Petrovic (Northlane, Tonight Alive), says:
It feels huge to finally release our debut EP. The one silver lining of watching our entire 2020 schedule go up in flames was finally getting the chance to double down in the studio and give our fans what they’ve been asking for. Musically, we wanted to challenge ourselves and push our song writing to fresh limits, cross breeding our love of riffs and all things heavy with fresh sounds from the worlds of EDM, pop, hip-hop and more. I even got to go back to my high school jazz band roots and bust out a sax solo!
Opening track ‘I Don’t Keep Up’ is a veritable aural punch: a blasting unrelenting pace with shouty vocals and a sublime saxophone punctuation. There is a level of sustaining hyperactivity that resonates through the ensuing tracks: a delicious frisson of excitement like taking off your seatbelts at high speed.
Second track ‘Cure 4 Psycho’ is a case in point – playground melodies ejected in a vituperative blast over pounding, jagged rhythms. There is an air of bemusement detected in the vocal delivery – a sense of knowing in amongst the metallic bombast. It is all for fun and fun it is.
Title track “Bad Decisions’ is a sublime example – a self-deprecatory and blunt exposé of personal flaws is delivered with the gentle touch of a sledgehammer – mountain high riffs and a slamming pace with a cartoonish expletive-laden attitude. It all has a very psycho therapeutic effect with the side effects of loud ringing in the ears. For this music is just made to be played loud:
‘Kamikaze’ continues with the satisfyingly destructive blitzkrieg – heavy metal blasting and death metal vocalising from Will King of Australian metalcore band Windwaker contrast with Mack’s sweeter voice and melody. The juxtaposition in tone and pace creates something quite distinctive.
RedHook are not a single page band by any means – ‘Alien’ switches to a more restrained sweet pop melody with a commercial accessibility. The EP leaves us thoroughly energised with the final track ‘Your Heroes Are Bullshit’ – Redhook’s take no prisoners approach both with the sonic blasting and the lyrical directness. It is heady stuff with its layered vocals, mixing sweet melodies with unrestrained death metal vocalising and an ominous, thundering instrumentation. Not for the faint of heart, but those faint of heart quite frankly should go somewhere else. Or in RedHook’s word, f@ck off.
You can get ‘Bad Decisions’ here and catch the band on tour – they are about to embark on an Australian wide tour at the end of April but be quick – many shows are sold out already. Full details here.