Hookworms Review The Singles

With Hurts, AlunaGeorge, and some chap with a piano...
Hookworms by Kate Prior

Responsible for one of Clash’s most-underrated LPs of 2013 so far, the terrific trip that is ‘Pearl Mystic’ (read about it here), Leeds five-piece Hookworms (pictured) are truly going places. And the walls surrounding those places have a distinct tendency to melt before your eyes.

The psych-rockers’ Latitude set, on the Sunday of the festival, is sure to be a standout for those wanting to step away from the path through the summer’s typical outdoor entertainment. Expect heavy riffs and heavy nodding – and certainly not off. Seriously, you’re a sucker if you miss their slot at the i Arena, around 2pm.

Members MJ and MB – just initials with this lot – sat down with the new-release singles of July 22nd to decide what stood out, and what should simply be stepped on.

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Hookworms, ‘Away/Towards’, from ‘Pearl Mystic’ (live in Leeds)

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AlunaGeorge – ‘You Know You Like It’

MB: Pleasant enough pop song, this. At least the production has a little something about it. The occasional 808 rolls and synth flourishes keep it from going too stale. I’m a bit tired of the whole ‘posh cockney girl’ shtick, though; Lily Allen has a lot to answer for. I’m not saying everyone should be singing with a Yorkshire accent, but f*ck, does every girl between the age of 16 and 30 in London sing like this? She even goes a bit Barbara Windsor in places. Carry On R&B?

MJ: I like the dancer that looks like Riddick (this fellow) at a chillwave fancy dress party.

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Big Deal – ‘Dream Machines’

MJ: Really like the length of this; doesn't outstay its welcome.  Shame the kick drum sounds like a basketball.

MB: We played with this lot at a festival in York the other month. It’s incredibly unfair on them, but whenever I see the name, I’m always reminded of a heinous little second-hand music shop down the Headrow in Leeds, staffed by the rudest people you’re ever likely to meet. For that reason I can’t help but picture disowned flanger pedals and Argos Stratocasters accompanied by a faint whiff of BO whilst I listen to this track. The hazy indie is over before I can even get the smell out of my nose.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Despair’

MJ: Thought they’d started playing spoken-word NY anti-folk, but turns out I was listening to an inspirational LG pre-roll advert titled ‘To Grandfather from Natalie & Austin’. This is the one where Natalie and Austin discuss how much they love their grandfather over Apple Loop ‘Acoustic Guitar 3’. 7/10, oddly moving.

MB: I’d be lying if I said I’d listened to a note of music by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs since ‘Fever To Tell’. This is better than I was expecting though. I think you’d probably struggle to find another song in recent years that pulls off an opening 90 seconds of a cappella as elegantly as this. The Suicide-y drum machine churning along throughout is great, but once the rest of the band come in it loses me somewhere between Arcade Fire and U2, in a “put your lighter in the air” kind of way. Might make them a good buck soundtracking a slo-mo, Sky Sports HD advert down the line?

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Hurts – ‘Somebody To Die For’

MB: When one of the many, many middle-aged women at my work noticed me fiddling with my iPod and enquired as to “what kind of music” I listen to recently, I did the usual awkward scratch-of-the-head, mumble, and attempt to politely avoid giving an answer by suggesting that they “probably wouldn’t have heard of any of the groups I like”. The answer fired back across the bows was, in fact: “I’m going to see Hurts in Leeds soon actually. They’re a cool, new band.”

This is the first time I’ve heard a note of music by Hurts, but I can safely say it is not what I was expecting after my colleague’s vain attempt to out-hipster me on my lunch break. This steaming turd is rubber-stamped and readymade to give Louis Walsh stiff nipples on the next series of The X Factor. Side note: the video may possibly go down in history as thee biggest waste of money this side of Andy Carroll.

MJ: Hey, I secretly enjoyed the Take That comeback album too, but I wouldn't wanna cite it as an influence.

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Instruktion – ‘Instruktion’ (I and II)

MJ: The secret to pleasing me as a listener is liberal application of arpeggiators. The first track also has a slight Max Payne 3 soundtrack vibe. Linear it may have been, but I enjoyed that game a lot.

MB: A little bit of research tells me this is one of the guys from worriedaboutsatan (now Ghosting Season), a little-known laptop/guitar duo that seemingly used to open for almost every post-rock group that came through Leeds about five or six years ago. This seems to be more of the same, but perhaps less focused on the ‘epic’ and more comfortable in repetition and the slow-build. Totally listenable, I enjoyed this as background music whilst typing out the tail end of the Hurts review above. Hopefully ‘background music’ isn’t too harsh a comment, but when an artist dubs themself ‘ambient’, you have to assume it’s par for the course.

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The Creature Comfort – ‘Sally Sucks’

MJ: I normally hate musical comedy, but this was actually pretty funny.

MB: I cannot bring myself to review this, so here are the lyrics instead:

“OOOOF!
Ah c’mon!
Should I stay with the girl?
Should I stay with the girl?
Should I stay with the girl?
Or leave this mess and go away to a better place?
Should I stay with the girl?
Should I stay with the girl?

Anyway, any day, any place,
Sally sucks and blows away.

OOOOF!
Ah c’mon!
You know her daddy’s rich,
And her mum got ditched, it’s sad to say.
You know her daddy’s rich,
He drives a big boss car,
He’s a big boss man,
He smokes a fat cigar.
You know her daddy’s rich,
You know her daddy’s rich.

Anyway, any day, any place,
Sally sucks and blows away my mind.

Sally baby, please don’t go.
Sally baby, I love you so.
Sally baby, I’m not yet dead,
It’s just the way I lie in bed.”

Listen here 

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Scouting For Girls – ‘Millionaire’

MB: I always wonder what kind of a frame of mind you need to be in to write and record a song as sickeningly bouncy and happy as this. Never in my life have I met a person as positive as this song sounds. If this girl really makes him feel like a millionaire, imagine how many times over he’s going to want to kill himself when he catches her sucking the drummer’s dick? I guess the little ukulele at the start is in keeping with the current trend of bands that look and sound like they should be at a barn dance. The weird Auto-Tuned backing vocal is a bit of a curveball; I reckon these lads had been on the space pipes for the overdubs.

MJ: Sounds like it was commissioned by GMTV to soundtrack a holiday competition in 1994. Culturally worthless.

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Johnny Borrell – ‘Pan European Supermodel Song (Oh! Gina)’

MB: Good old Johnny Borrell. Spotted his mate Andy Burrows was carving himself out a bit of a solo career and decided he fancied a slice. This is marginally better than anything I heard Razorlight churn out, but he’s played it pretty safe with a solo piano ballad. To be honest, the song totally passed me by, I was too busy enjoying the genuine concern and panic on the faces of his sub-Dexys Midnight Runners backing band as they desperately try to stop his upright careering into lamp posts. Unfortunately this is the kind of mush that will have him back up at the top of the charts again talking about pissing on Bob Dylan’s chips.

MJ: Our generation's Geldof. Annoyingly competent. 

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Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that Hookworms are not F*ck Buttons, who were originally meant to be reviewing this little lot. But they couldn’t bring themselves to sit through a whole Hurts track. Which is fair enough, really.

Find Hookworms online here

Photo: Kate Prior

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