Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hella - Tripper

I'll post twice today since I missed yesterday.

Hella's an interesting band in the math rock subgenre. They're an instrumental duo from California consisting of extremely talented musicians Zach Hill on drums and Spencer Seim on guitar. If you haven't been introduced to their brand of schizoid songwriting, then 2011's Tripper is as good a time as ever to jump on the bandwagon.

Hella isn't a band that reinvents the wheel with each new release. They might play with the mixing, effects, and they did have a few more members on 2007s There's No 666 In Outer Space, but otherwise they tend to stick to their formula. There's a reason for this. Their formula fucking works. Frenetic but memorable, all of their tracks are intensely technical. The first half of Tripper really showcases this on tracks like the opener "Headless" and "Yubacore." After the schizophrenically dissonant ending of "Netgear," things get a bit more odd - or more typical if you've heard Hella's earlier material. "Furthest" and even to an extent "On The Record" harken back to the upbeat, meandering glory days of Hold Your Horse Is.

Songs like "Psycho Bro," "Long Hair," and "Self Checkout" are a bit heavier than most other Hella tracks and I guess it makes sense given the psychedelia-themed nature of the album. There's a lot more noise and grain in the production on Tripper which really accentuates that feel. The problem is that it kinda sounds like their way of easing fans of the previous album's lineup back into the original duo's styling. If that makes sense.

Anyway Tripper is a good album that's worthy of a dedicated listen (or a few, I love math rock for those long nights where I gotta do work). Sadly though as a Hella album it's only a bit above average - which is still better than most bands.

7.0 out of 10


1. Headless
2. Self Checkout
3. Long Hair
4. Yubacore
5. Netgear
6. Kid Life Crisis
7. On the Record
8. Furthest
9. Psycho Bro
10. Osaka

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