Review Summary: Keeping things consistent.
Brisbane’s I Heart Hiroshima have a good thing going for them. In an overcrowded ‘indie’ music scene in Australia, the band has not only thrown in some unique elements (no bass, dual vocalists etc.) into the mix, but has kept things both memorable and interesting in the process, with the release of a handful of solid EPs and an album, Tuff Teef
Exactly why the group haven’t accumulated the success of, say, fellow Brisvegans An Horse over the years is a puzzling travesty. However, with the release of their latest album The Rip
, we may well be seeing some of that well-deserved attention paid in full. Hiroshima have created a relatively simple yet quite effective sound that – whilst not as gritty-sounding as their earlier work – still manages to pack some significant punch when it’s needed.
The overall sound of The Rip
circulates around a distinctive ring of chiming, clean guitar, pounding rhythms and yin-and-yang boy/girl vocals. Of course, there are a few kinks to be found in some of the album’s aspects – namely, several songs bleed into one another because of similar tempos and song progressions; not to mention the guitar tone does not change once throughout the album’s thirteen tracks.
With that said, these flaws can ultimately be overlooked with a few listens – especially given the quality of the production (credited to the band themselves). Although a lo-fi, plug-in-and-play mentality is maintained, the edges have definitely been smoothed and the intricacy between the three musicians in IHH emphasised. This is a facet of The Rip
that more often than not works in the band’s favour, notably on tracks such as bittersweet lead single "Shakeytown" and the all-in jaunt "Here It Comes".
Recurring vocal interplay between guitarist Matthew Somers (a howling vocalist of gritted-teeth aggression) and drummer Susie Patten (sweet and melodic with a sting in the tail) results in some of the key points of the album. The two voices work together by means of one balancing out the mood set out by the other singing lead. Take, for instance, the angular, dancey "Got Out" (worth a listen for Somer’s yells of the word “Yep!” alone); as well as the upbeat stomp of "Old Tree".
These numbers, amongst others, see Somers ripping his vocal chords as he yelps about metaphorical oceanic imagery, despicable cities and the shards of destroyed relationships past. Patten counteracts this hostility with similar lyrical intentions, yet integrates less abrasiveness and more of a harmonic, sweetened approach. This could easily become monotonous, but it ultimately works out to be one of the band’s finer points.
is a concise, easily digestible work from a hard-working Australian band that continue to impress. Say what you will about the album in the long run, but for now it’s difficult to ignore music with this degree of likability.