If you were to do a word cloud of my album reviews so far this year the words ‘dark’, ‘dense’, ‘intense’ and ‘dystopian’ would surely be writ large across it. With releases by such as Henge, Cavalier Song. The Oscillation and Pop. 1280 I am not sure whether there is a something in the air that is triggering such creative directions, or whether my own state of mind is drawing me towards this sort of music. I suspect it is a mixture of the two, and that they are feeding off each other; the banquet of insecurity in my existential echo chamber.
It has to be said that I’m not exactly lightening the tone with a review of the new album by North East-based psych doom merchants Haikai No Ku. A trio comprising Sam Booth (Foot Hair) and Jerome Smith (Female Borstal, Charles Dexter Ward) who are providing the power and drive to Mike Vest’s (Bong, 11Paranoias, Blown Out) monstrous fuzzed out feedback guitar; this is a band that has form for those who have heard it’s previous two albums: ‘Sick On My Journey’ (Burning World Records) and ‘Ultra High Dimensionality’ (Box Records), and as such it is an album that doesn’t disappoint.
Vest brings a deep intensity to everything he touches, and Blown Out’s ‘Jet Black Hallucinations’ was one of my albums of the year in 2015. But while Blown Out are mindfuckingly massive and fierce, Haikai No Ku are mindfuckingly intense and monumental, and some of the tracks here are almost glacial in their speed; yet have the same potency to destroy everything in their path on their way to sonic nirvana.
In short ‘Temporary Infinity’ is an album which just blows everything away through the sheer intensity of the way that the band play off each other to hammer out a wall of sound that is simply too in your face to ignore. Once it has got in your face it initially proceeds to embed itself inside your brain with the subtlety of a crazed zombie smashing your head repeatedly against a brick wall.
As you take the pummelling, though, you begin to realise that there is more going in here because, as I intimated at the start, this is not just an intense record; it is dense too…which means there is a lot going on here. This is not just 40 minutes of pummelling…there are all sorts of moments and details going on under the headline of fuzz and feedback to make this a rewarding listen too.
Like many of the other albums I’ve reviewed recently this is very much a record for our times: not always an easy listen, but one which is also quite subtle in places, and with something to say. In it Haikai No Ku have delivered an album that is right for the times in which we live…that argues that the reality beneath the thin glossy veneer of our society and culture is something far more complex and sinister than we imagine.
Welcome to the deconstruction of our verisimilitude.
‘Temporary Infinity’ is out now on Box Records.