Review Summary: .hinge's 2007 return not only matches their previous release, but supplants it as the better of the two.
Binger831: Who the hell does .hinge sound like!?
HyLyfe9321: I have no idea. That's one of the great mysteries of music, my friend.
Busted. This is the brilliance that columnists use when telling people which tunes are good and which ones aren't worth the plastic they're printed on. With the prior statements originating from a recent AIM conversation, it's a pretty safe bet to say that critics are now caught completely red handed in their own shallow pomposity. After all, many will say it's never a good thing to quickly tack labels on music, much less anything else in this world. Yet, connoisseurs sometimes engage in the alleged bad habit more than those who casually accept anything the radio station sends their way.
In our defense, sometimes the gesture is completely necessary when you're sitting through the 157,694,583th copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, or Nirvana that's repacked with the title Puddle of Mudd, Alter Bridge, or Nickelback. So you can imagine the befuddlement that swirls our minds when a group like .hinge comes along, takes an old garment and redesigns it into a fresh, creative but vintage fashion statement. What was almost a robotic gesture turns into a jam in the assembly line's belt - but in a good way.
The Rise & Fall of Living Great
isn't the first time .hinge has perplexed the music world with their insanely expansive approach to modern rock. This new album is the long-awaited follow up to their previously acclaimed debut, Something to Adore
. So what does a band do after writing a career-defining album on the first attempt? Disappear into a silent obscurity by never writing anything else that quite measures up? No. Suffer the dreaded sophomore slump? Nah. The group does the virtually impossible by creating a work of art that completely annihilates the previous effort.
As hard as it already is to pinpoint .hinge's style and influences, saying that the new album is better than the first is even more of a personal viewpoint. This opus simply isn't Something to Adore
on steroids. In fact, the two records have virtually nothing in common outside of the name of the band. Where the prior record worked primarily in a continuous party groove, this time around the Aussies have chosen a far more brooding canvas that calls to mind one of the band's few and distant comparables, Alice in Chains. Still, the moniker of post grunge isn't an accurate appraisal of .hinge's new cornucopia. That dubious honor goes the dregs mentioned earlier.
In that sense, failing to typecast this sound is all the more justified. Without considering a haughty Pitchfork Media motif of stringing together bloated phrases and meaningless banter, there's simply no worktable writing mechanism that will prepare one for listening to this album. Furthermore, the handful of songs on the band's Myspace serves only as a torturous teaser of the complete experience that this record has to offer. Already daunting an unbelievable range and clever lyrics, traditional song structures are few and far between with the surefire pleaser of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus almost nonexistent. The most implausible amazement about these unpredictable ideas is that each tune never fails to be remarkably catchy. Moreover, through all of this ambitious experimentation and risk-taking, none of the hymns prompt use of the skip button or bring about a vibe of the cutting board.
Since it's always been .hinge's modus operandi to steer clear of clichés, to do the band absolute best justice would mean not ending this review by calling this the album of the year, saying they are criminally overlooked, or deserving of accolades and millions of dollars that lesser talents receive. These guys are simply an inspired group of artists that want to bring music from that all but forgotten place that it was always meant to resonate from - the heart.