After years of minor releases hardcore outfit Hoax have put their heads together and produced a long player – prior to its release the strength of the group’s EPs often made me question whether they would be able to recreate the addictive combination of aggression and mid-tempo, hook-laden riffs on a full-length. It’s safe to say that the Massachusetts four-piece has not strayed far from its usual formula, delivering a slathering of Hoax-signature songs. Nonetheless, one cannot help feel jaded with its release; completely ignoring the trivial and juvenile discussions of ‘trendiness’ and ‘youth attack bands’, the LP doesn’t quite hit home as hard as it should.
One aspect of the record that cannot go unmentioned is how true it remains to the production standard set on previous releases. The guitar tone is jagged and mean, Jesse’s snarls have been further refined, and the whole thing sounds exactly as a Hoax LP should. It’s hard to fault the band on their style – they are consistent and obviously take the recording process seriously. But what their consistency cannot cover up is this LP’s lack of defining moments. Of the dozen or so tracks that Hoax have put to wax, there is no ‘Fagget’, no ‘Down’, nor even a ‘Discipline’. The album marches along punching out song after song and when it’s done it disappears and doesn’t leave you angry, frustrated or alienated. Considering that is what I’ve come to expect from spinning a Hoax record, I’m left somewhat disappointed with a fairly good record that could have easily been more.
It might seem I am being too hard on Hoax, as I think they’re an excellent band, and considering this is their first LP perhaps the criticism of its songwriting is a little misguided, however it wouldn’t be out of line to make the typical comment about the difference between a collection of songs and a cohesive album brought to life through
a collection of songs. Hoax’s self-titled LP just feels like an EP but more than twice as long, and thus unfortunately lumps in with the former category. This is not to say it isn’t good or that I don’t enjoy listening to it, but the longevity it brings to the listener’s (turn)table is not particularly significant.