Review Summary: "I'm Unsure"; "But Aren't We All?"
My moment of realizing just how brilliant Dot Hacker's sophomore LP, How's Your Process (Work)?
, is came after only 2 listens. Initially, the album soundtracked a gentle descent into sleep, guiding and commentating calming dreams from a stressful day, each stab of glimmering synth and hum of Josh Klinghoffer's beautiful voice gliding along like a butterfly caught in an evening sea breeze. The second listen however dictated an exercise routine for which I rarely ever find anything even remotely appropriate to guide the activity. It was in the heat of that moment that (Work)
hit me with a certain type of energy; one more subtle, one more appropriate and one more motivating than I've ever really come across. Caught in the heat, Klinghoffer's punch and vibrancy knew just how to push me, almost as if it was designed for that very purpose
These anecdotes illustrate perfectly the duality to behold on (Work)
, the sophomore LP by Josh Klinghoffer and his gang of seasoned session/touring musicians. Devoid of song structure or any overriding influence, Dot Hacker careen carelessly between melodious dream pop, electronic production and boisterous hard rock at a moments notice. It's a youthful abandon that possess far too fewer bands these days, and (Work)
is all the better for it. The versatility on display is commendable, but not in a purely wank and self-copulating fashion, with the careful ability to deliver fully-formed numbers enviable amongst more progressive troupes. It's most noticeable 20-seconds deep into the album; Klinghoffer's ease of movement in "Aim" is gaudy and modest in equal measure, shuffling along to a funky beat while his guitar lines stack up a glowingly effervescent riff. Underlined by its eternal danceability and carefully intertwining guitars, "Aim" is the rarest of beasts; made dangerous by how lumbering and titanic it is, it's soon to come crashing down to earth when its pop hooks and synth beeps punctuate its movement. In one word, "Aim" is 'perfection'.
In most cases, certain tracks will tend to accentuate their core features more than others (emphasis on EDM on "First in Forever", rampant influences of Tony Iommi on "Whatever You Want"), but at their heart, Dot Hacker know how to perfectly present their material in a way that is accessible to just about any musical persuasion by always keeping vocal hooks and at least one stunning riff at the forefront. It doesn't matter if you don't exactly gel with crunching walls of guitars or constant streams of sampling and processed beats, Dot Hacker are masters of their trade, always ready to provide at least one other idea to offset any irks you may have at any given time.
In a time where genre classification and pigeonholing seem to be far further on the forefront than actually embracing and indulging music, Dot Hacker make a case for purity and 100% enjoyment on the first part of their How's Your Process
project. Granted, the diversity on display can be stifling, at minute times hindering total enjoyment to be had, but that's nothing to be worried about. Ambient and heavy, pop but difficult, obtuse and accessible; (Work)
is an ideal blend made for critical satisfaction, a tellingly modern piece that highlights what we hold dearest as qualities of both pop and progressive music. Ladies and gentleman, Dot Hacker have created one of the most brilliantly contradictory albums ever. The line has been blurred; it's time to cross it