After teasing us since 2011 with EPs ‘S/T’ and ‘Live Vol.I’ and releasing single ‘Away/Towards’ in May last year, Leeds five piece Hookworms are back in 2013 with their debut album Pearl Mystic; but has it lived up to the anticipation surrounding it?
Hookworms have already been placed within the pysch-rock genre, which seems to be the ‘movement’ of 2013, especially with the likes of Temples and Foxygen coming to the forefront. Perhaps it’s ironic then that Hookworms are within this new group, as they chose to go to the smaller Gringo records, and are adamantly anti-celebrity, with frontman MJ saying to NME ‘They “get” the importance of engagement. We got shit for going with them, but when other labels go, “Why are you doing this? We’ve got more money”, I stop caring.’
The album kicks off with ‘Away/Towards’, which clocks in at almost nine minutes (!) Starting off slowly, it builds up a crescendo of layered synths and echoing vocals, culminating in a crash of huge guitars and angrier shouting. Similarly, the second longest song, ‘Since We Had Changed’ has the same build up, beginning with whirling synths and droned vocals, swirling in the psychedelia so reminiscent of the sixties; the motorik beats of the percussion underneath it all contribute to the dirge-like feel of the whole track.
Completely different to any other song on the album, ‘Preservation’ is full of quick, angry guitar thrashing and hard hitting drums, but still maintains the strained, echoing vocals apparent elsewhere on the album.
The highlight of Pearl Mystic would have to be the fantastic ‘In Our Time’. Leading on from ‘i’, the track begins with a deep, low bass throbbing below that echoed voice of MJ, which seems to be a trademark of his. It’s not as furious as some of the other tracks, but it combines the elements of both the psychedelic and punk genres that have already been displayed perfectly.
‘Songs’ (noun used apprehensively) ‘i’, ‘ii’ and ‘iii’ could indeed be seen as time to help the album flow more easily, but personally they seem pointless; the album would be just as good, if not better without them. Sure, they’re not doing anybody any harm, but especially with ‘i’, it sounds like it’s either a long outro to ‘Form and Function’ or a long intro to ‘In Our Time’.
In response to the earlier question posed, the simple answer is yes. Hookworms have indeed lived up to the anticipation surrounding ‘Pearl Mystic’, the only shame is that they’ve kept us waiting this long. Sorry boys, but when you’re making music like this, you’re bound to become famous.
Words: Emily Arc
‘Pearl Mystic’ is out now on Gringo Records.