Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Hair Police: Certainty of Swarms


Hair Police: Certainty of Swarms

Label:No Fun
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2008
Genre:Recording

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 8/20/2008

Kentucky's Hair Police are frequently lumped in with the so-called modern noise vanguard of Wolf Eyes, Yellow Swans, and Sightings. Yet Mike Connelly, Robert Beatty, and Trevor Tremaine haven't fully earned that honor. Too often, their repertoire--amorphous nicks, scratches, and dents, turgid shortwave frequency squishing, strained static farts, rusty torture-chamber residue--feels desperately anonymous. On 2004's Obedience Cuts, the trio openly aped its elders, and, frankly, the various Burning Star Core records these three have contributed to--not to mention Connelly's work with Wolf Eyes--are far more memorable.

Noise bands are generally raw and unfocused from jump, but some bare minimum of artistry should emerge; six years in, though, on Certainty of Swarms, Hair Police is still throwing the same old psychedelic temper tantrums. Case in point: the opening clusterfuck of "Strict," all cracked-kazoo electronics, blood-curdling screams, and falling-down-stairs drum rolls. Growls--effects-generated and otherwise--define "Freezing Alone," a too pregnant pause of ominous white space interrupted; "On a Hinge" is built from a similar template, with added gong strikes and feedback rivets. "Mangled Earth," on the other hand, sets a toxic gush of shuddering guitar and snare abuse against what sounds like Smeagol from the Lord of the Rings movies issuing some especially garbled threats.

None of which is to say that Swarms isn't a gnarly shock to the system--particularly at peak volume--but we've suffered similarly faceless Hair Police shocks before, and picking these rusted-note mugs out of a blind compilation lineup would be next to impossible.

Comments powered by Disqus
Calendar
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter