Hookworms – The Hum

The HumMB, MJ, JN, SS, and JW are Hookworms, a five-piece that consistently create immense material and should nearly always excite when it comes to something new. Thank the heavens, their new album continues along that same theme. The Hum is a departure from their noisy, gargantuan psych-shoegaze free for all, into something that shines and beams with incredulity. Opting for a much more refined excursion, The Hum is Hookworms' most realized and fully formed effort to date, echoing past work - the exquisite acid trip of Pearl Mystic and the thematic, boisterous Hookworms EP - through a prism of bold colour.

If you're not familiar with Hookworms, let the first few songs of this album traipse through your soul. “The Impasse” alarmingly turns into a Thee Oh Sees-esque meltdown, while showcasing the brilliant energy of Pearl Mystic. “On Leaving” grooves into desert rock mode before slow-burning into a cerebral phantasm. Continuing on from Pearl Mystic, there are three untitled tracks of noisy-drone-esque fiddling with sound textures, each named after a number ("IV," "V," "VI"). These represent the dimensions in which Hookworms dwindle, creating sonically challenging tracks that sound accessible and work incredibly well in transition with each other. There aren't many bands, if any, who manage to create something so final and exposed as Hookworms present on The Hum.

However, Hookworms fall short on cohesion throughout The Hum. There are many tracks that fumble into the next without transition. It feels sloppy. Overall, there are plenty of great songs on this album, but they stumble and struggle to find their footing - like running a relay race without the baton. The pacing of the album is awkward and slightly troubling, considering their past efforts of excellent cohesion.

The Hum is Hookworms' best - no doubt - and it shows a band that’s refining their already more-than-impressive sound. However the day Hookworms funnel out of this recipe for pleasuring efforts, the risk of furthering their sound will open up the friction gained by the album's intention. It is here, in the near future, where Hookworms will gladly become a spotlight snatcher. The Hum certainly adds some charm to their previous records, and it will probably go down as one of the best psych rock records this year, but The Hum could be attacked as "playing it safe."

Release: 10th November 2014, Domino Recordings


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