Arvio: Hookworms – Microshift (2018)


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Englantilainen Hookworms sanoi haastattelussamme halunneensa tehdä jotain aiemmasta noise/kraut/psykedelia-linjastaan poikkeavaa, ja siinä se totisesti onnistui: neljäs albumi Microshift kuljettaa bändin soiton elektronisempaan suuntaan ja kappaleiden aiheet iholle, sanoittaja-laulaja Matthew Johnsonin (MJ) henkilökohtaisiin kokemuksiin.

Uutta levyä edellyttänyt tauko ei ole ollut bändille ruusuilla tanssimista: bändin studio joutui tulvan kouriin ja saatiin jälleenrakennettua vain joukkorahoituskampanjan avulla. Avoimesti kamppailustaan masennuksen kanssa puhunut MJ kertoi Microshiftin tarinoiden kumpuavan muun muassa ahdistuksesta, eroista ja pakokauhusta.
Pitkillä varjoilla on kirkkaat valonlähteet. Microshift on MJ:n selvästä henkilökohtaisuudesta huolimatta toiveikas ja kuten Soft Season ja Each Time We Pass -kappaleet osoittavat, myös kaunis levy.

Avausraidat Negative Space ja Static Resistance herättivät ennakkoon huomiota kahdesta syystä: ensinnäkin biisit ovat loistavia elektronisen indierockin tehopakkauksia. Seitsemänminuuttinen Negative Space lainaa tanssimusiikista, ja yhtyeen omin sanoin kappaleet sopisivat vaikka kuntosalille. Toiseksi ero Hookwormsin aiempaan abstraktimpaan tuotantoon on pysäyttävä. Rytminvaihdoksilla leikittelevä Ullswater on tarttuvaa ja oivaltavaa elektronista vaihtoehtopopia.

Toivo saattaa puskea yllättävistä raoista.

Muutoksen voima ei kuitenkaan ole Hookwormsin onnistuneen paluulevyn taika: se on sen monipuolisuus. Tunteiden kirjo kulkee päättäväisestä energiasta hädin tuskin päivänvalon kestävään sovintoon oman olemisen kanssa. Jännite kantaa vahvana läpi levyn.
Kaoottinen Boxing Day viittaa päivään, jolloin tulva täytti yhtyeen Leedsin-studion tilat. Kappale katkeaa kuin tie rotkon reunalla – mutta vain tippuakseen turvallisesti Reunionin sovinnolliseen lempeyteen, kohti uudelleenyhdistymistä.


Loistelias päätöskappale Shortcomings tiivistää levyn ytimen: elämä saattaa hukuttaa studion tulvaan mutta myös puskea uutta toivoa yllättävistä raoista. Discosta asti ammentava psykedeliavivahteiseen laulu päättyy toivekkaasti: ”Hold out, it’ll come.”

Microshift on kirjo mieleenjääviä kappaleita, joiden musiikillinen ilmaisu on rytmivaihdoksissaan ja syntetisaattorisoinnuissaan rikasta ja tarttuvaa.

On kiinnostavaa nähdä, raottaako Negative Space -hitti ovea uuteen, tanssittavaan suuntaan psykedeelisen rock-musiikin kentällä. Niin tai näin, Hookwormsista voi Microshiftin myötä taas puhua bändinä, jolla on kiinnostavaa sanottavaa.

Hookworms’ new album Microshift transforms the Leeds band’s sound to much more electronic and up-beat. Microshift’s catchy power, however is not only in the successful transformation of character, it’s in the quality of songs. They are more rhythmic in sound and more personal and less abstract in lyrics. Despite their hard themes, such as relationship break-ups and grief, the songs carry great glimpses of hope and harmony within. Microshift sounds like it that bases on something genuine, on real (often painful) experience. It leads to an emphatic and honest album about both the shadows in life and sources of lights behind them.

Microshift shifts from the opener pair’s energy bursting synth pop to grim and chaotic Boxing Day, which by the way stops – but only to land softly on Reunion’s soothing sounds.
Ullswater and the brilliant closing track Shortcomings are prime examples of Hookworms’ refreshed style of converting their energy levels to inspiring and stylish, yet unique sounding indie synth rock. Hookworms end their four year album drought with stylish and relevant album, whose electronic and up-beat influences may just become more frequent in Neo Psychedelic scene.

New psych videos: MIEN, Dreamweapon, Holy Wave & More

A cosmic deep-focus monolith from Dreamweapon

The Portuguese band’s upcoming album Sol is worth waiting for, according to this music video.




Much-hyped MIEN shows their quality

MIEN is sort of a ”super group” as it comprises of The Black Angels’ Alex Maas, The Horrors’ Tom Furse, Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dhir and The Earlies’ John-Mark Lapham. Very promising single with a cool video.


Hookworm takes a break from ”Pumped up exercise rock”

The third music video from the new Hookworms LP Microshift calms down from the previous ones. Learn more about the band from our Hookworms interview.



Psychedelic color flow from Pretty Lightning

It’s a colorful video to a rhythmic Pretty Lightning track Tangerine Stream. A classic psych visualization feels like a nice little variation from the many text videos out there..

Holy Wave on the road again

The Texan group Holy Wave announced a new album due this March. Their new music video is a gloomy one, but it has some nice sounds.

A dazing psych-etno-overdoze from JuJu and Goat percussionist Capra Informis

Seven minutes of relentless stream of psychedelic consciousness is for me on a brink for being too much for one video, but have a go at the new JuJu video and decide for yourself!



Interview: After 4 years, Hookworms are back in town

Hookworms is a 5-member psych-punk/kraut/noiserock band from Leeds, England. Despite their very powerful sound Hookworms is not the most well-known psych-influenced bands around. But that may change very soon.

Hookworms have an aura of certain mystique about them. Indeed, during four years I’ve waited for Hookworms’ new music, I’ve started to see the band as the friend you haven’t seen in a long time but who left a lasting impression back then.

Hookworms’ music changes shapes like elements, it’s fluently beautiful and robust at the same time, it transforms between mesmerizing anthems and unstoppable kraut energy –and the icing on the cake is singer MJ’s amazing vocals that sound like Zach De La Rocha’s just-as-wild-but-much-more-British relative. Albums Hookworms (2011) and Pearl Mystic (2013) are particularly powerful.

 Music video: Away/Towards from Pearl Mystic.

After The Hum (2014) Hookworms have been making new music and done a bit of touring. They’ve also faced troubles: their studio got wrecked by a flood but luckily, with the help of their fans, they managed to rebuild it. After four years, Hookworms are back with new music. We had the chance to ask them some questions about their new album that introduces a ”seismic” change to their sound, as described by their record company Domino. The band members go by their initials. My mail was replied by either JN, JW, MB, MJ, or SS.

Kolmas korva: So, how are you doing? How’s Leeds (presumably)?

Hookworms: ”Hello, we’re OK. Leeds is very cold at the moment, but probably not as cold as Helsinki?”

What have you been up to after The Hum (2014)? Looking as a fan from the remote Finland it feels as if you guys have been a bit off the radar.

”After The Hum came out we did a bit of touring and some festivals. Our studio flooded on Boxing Day 2015 so we were out of action for the best part of 7 months in 2016.

A few of us released some records with our other bands (Cowtown, Family Scraps, Xam Duo), then we started writing and recording the new album which took a couple of years to make. Now the boys are back in town.”

For me, your style of combining echoing noise sounds with kraut-influenced psychedelia has always been very powerful. Can you name a few of your major influences?

”El Faro, Square Mile, M&S Service Stations, Backflip Madness, Roland synthesizers and Kanye.”

Two singles you have published so far from Microshift had new nuances in them. They sound more rhythmic, more electronic, more danceable than many of your previous songs. Negative Space is so energizing we actually used it in our Party Mixtape.
The music video of Static Resistance shows a guy living in a fast-paced rat race limbo.

Can you tell us about the creation of Microshift and the themes you want to speak about in your new music?

Microshift was made quite differently to our last two albums. We used the studio and computer as more of an instrument, building up lots of short loops, and much of the initial writing was with synthesizers, drum machines and samplers which we’ve never done before.

Something pumping enough that you can run to it, Exercise Rock.

The intention was to make something more upbeat; body music but through the lense of a rock band. Something pumping enough that you can run to it, Exercise Rock. The lyrical themes of the record include but are not limited to: anxiety, body image, grief, relationship break-ups, opening up to others, wanting to escape the life you’ve built, and all the other things that poor mental health can entail.”


Hookworms’ new album Microshift out 2nd of February via Domino Records.