I Heart Hiroshima
The Rip


3.5
great

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
October 25th, 2009 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

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.

The Rip 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.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jim
October 25th 2009


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this seems interesting. perhaps something to check out.

good review. i wouldn't expect any less.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 25th 2009


3782 Comments


Oh, I didn't even know these guys were out with a new one. Kewl.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2009


20859 Comments


"Exactly why the group haven’t accumulated the success of, say, fellow Brisvegans An Horse over the years is a puzzling travesty"

Define "success"?

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2009


10599 Comments


can we start a petition for an "Australian" section to be added, perhaps in place of the Other tab?

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

Vooligan
October 25th 2009


3541 Comments


Heard a few songs from these guys before, can't remember if i liked them or not though.... Will have to check this out. Nice review, David.

AtavanHalen
October 26th 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for checking this out, guys. The video for "Shakeytown" is up on YouTube if you want to hear these guys. Also check out their old songs like "London in Love" and "Punks".

CK - I used An Horse as a cross-reference point because they're also from Brisbane and have a similar sound.

An Horse have opened for Tegan & Sara and Death Cab for Cutie, are touring the States with Silversun Pickups, have appeared on Letterman, gotten reviewed by Pitchfork etc. I think they're a great band, but I just can't see why IHH haven't had similar successes.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


20859 Comments


Understand the geographical comparison DavID, but the sentence was built around the word "success" by going on to say it's a travesty that they aren't as big or successful as An Horse.

I think it's a bit of a personal annoyance of mine the way (especially some Australian reviewers) throw around the word "success". IMO, it's definitely a HUGE reach saying An Horse is a "success".

Even locally, they are not.

AtavanHalen
October 26th 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

In spite of everything I just said?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


20859 Comments


Ok, that's a pretty good case. I suppose it all comes down to the definition of the word "success". Maybe I'm just a harsh man & you're oh so nice. Haha.

A local band like A Death in the Family have done most of those things (or at least similar) too, but I still wouldn't classify them as a success.. not yet anyway.



Captain North
October 26th 2009


6792 Comments


I find Shakeytown an alright song, but not interesting enough to check out their other stuff.

AtavanHalen
October 26th 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha, you just reminded me of the Winnie Coopers!
"I guess it depends how you measure success/If I can still breath, I am still blessed"

Douglas
October 26th 2009


9202 Comments


I'd say I'd like these guys.

AtavanHalen
October 26th 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

...but?

Douglas
October 26th 2009


9202 Comments


No but's, just saying I might like these guys.

Eclectic
October 26th 2009


3302 Comments


Pos'd

These guys sound interesting, I will check them out ASAP

Abaddon2005
October 26th 2009


684 Comments


i liked cut in colour, it was catchy stuff. i'll check this out.

Kiran
Emeritus
October 26th 2009


6002 Comments


pretty bad band name. ive heard shakeytown and it was alright but not really interesting enough as a single to make me want to get this.

Digging: D'Angelo - Black Messiah

Eclectic
October 26th 2009


3302 Comments


Hmm, I loved Shakeytown, these guys seem really good.

Jim
October 31st 2009


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so i bought this today. better not disappoint, david san.

AtavanHalen
October 31st 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Guess you'll see :D



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