Tuesday, May 26, 2009

CHAINMAIL: Hurt Model - This Is You (self-released, 2008)

The CHAINMAIL section reviews bands that were proactive enough to contact me directly. Here at Cerebral Metalhead, initiative is rewarded.

I hung out with Hurt Model drummer Bennett Erickson at the L.A. Murderfest a few weeks ago, and he was wearing an old Demilich t-shirt.  The first time I ever had a proper conversation with the guy, we geeked out over our mutual affection for the Dismemberment Plan. Once I saw Hurt Model play a tiny little Moroccan-themed bar, and each band member was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt in a different solid color. 

These facts are significant, because they suggest the same breadth of listening and quirkiness that I hear in Hurt Model's debut EP, This Is You. Their heavy instru-metal reminds me of my younger self's favorite bands. There's the cycling dissonance of Trout Mask Replica-era Captain Beefheart and the knotty jams (and snarky song titles) of early Don Caballero; Dysrhythmia's tricky counterpoint, and the throttled guitar sound that Steve Albini brought to so many classic records in the early 90s.

The short, busy instrumental tunes on This Is You rumble like barbed wire tumbleweeds. They never quite build steam, but suck us into their mis-shapen grooves all the same. Occasionally the crumbling rhythms ease up to allow an open cello passage ("Take Home A Glowing Piece Of Awesome Rock"), or main songwriter Trevor Vento's guitars will sprout a beautiful melodic line ("Sitting Next to Susan"), though mostly it's a succession of deliciously gnarly un-riffs. I'm actually a big fan of Erickson's stubbly production job here, which helps coax out a 3D personality from the album -- no small feat, considering how many tech-wanker albums sound sonically castrated. This Is You sounds like it was made by real people. And I can confirm that Hurt Model are real people, 'cuz they've bought me beers before. Thanks guys!

Don't forget to close your tab at Hurt Model's MySpace page


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