Say Psych: Album Review: Hookworms – Microshift

Rating: 7/10

Hookworms are a band that need no introduction really and yet with a noticeable three-year absence from releasing new material some would be forgiven for forgetting about them. The release of the Leeds bands new LP marks a shift in their sound, dynamic song-writing and production whilst still bearing all the ferocious energy and bruised beauty of their previous releases.

Microshift will be released on 2nd February and will be available on limited edition orange vinyl, standard vinyl, CD and download.

Opening with ‘Negative Space’, a distinctly electronic edge prevails, more reminiscent of Kraftwerk than the Hookworms we know and love. That is until the vocals come in, then we know where are once more which then blends seamlessly into ‘Static Resistance’, with its pulsating guitar riff and fuzz laden bass. ‘Ullswater’ channels an upbeat vibe through an infectious disco beat accompanied by a krautrock drum beat, the lengthy track harps back to Kraftwerk again in places. The lengthy track feels like it stops and starts as it progresses, as the musical elements intensify then die out, almost like a train gathering and losing momentum. ‘The Soft Season’ is an accurate reflection of its name, beautifully haunting in its intricacies.

‘Opener’ features a lengthy instrumental opening again channelling an upbeat vibe, one which makes you want to move. The distinct organ sound sits above the other layers of music and its harmony with the guitar towards the end of the track are notable. ‘Each Time We Pass’ channels ethereal female vocals transcending from the nature inspired dreamscape. ‘Boxing Day’ makes use of atonal saxophone and a chant style vocal.

‘Reunion’ sits in complete contrast to its predecessor, whilst still making use of the same elements but to such a differing degree they are hardly recognisable as the same band. ‘Shortcomings’ is chosen to conclude, and it is anything but. The oscillating bass line plays with the synth melody and the vocals glide in between effortlessly.

The LP draws on death, disease, heartbreak and even natural disaster, yet the overall effect is one of euphoric catharsis. Microshift has seen Hookworms move into a new realm entirely.


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