Dot Hacker
N°3


3.7
great

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
January 24th, 2017 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The band’s charm, as experimental and opaque as it is, makes it a bit too hard to unfold this album…

Dot Hacker managed to create a very interesting universe of their own with the two LPs they released in the past 5 years. Crafting a mélange of electronica infused alternative rock, traces of funk and effects soaked dream pop, the boundaries set by them are very loose as they cross into several other spheres too. The experimental nature of the output has made it hard to be categorized, however, the pop sensibilities are constantly noticeable throughout the music. With a new album out, N°3, the band brings forth a collection of hypnotizing cuts, intended to work better as a whole this time.

‘C Section’ sets the tone through dynamic beats topped by intertwining guitar and bass leads. It’s one of the few head banging tunes in their catalog, yet its lighter nature acts as a gateway to this expansive journey. Josh’s vocals are a highlight here as they are more urgent than usual and catchy. At the same time, ‘Apt Mess’ grows from a peculiar, Twin Peaks-esque intro, featuring an unsettling bass line, windy synths, plus reverbed background vocals, to a hazy mid-tempo tune. After switching constantly from a clinic vibe to a more melodic one, they unexpectedly break into a dissonant chorus where sharp guitars take the lead and Josh almost screams. The cycles this song shares are weirdly entertaining, showing how easily the band leads us into uncharted territory and back. On the contrast, we receive lush ballads like ‘Cassandra’ or ‘Found Lost’, where Klinghoffer’s humble voice fits best. The former’s lovely piano and sparse embellishments provide precious moments of respite before plunging again into brooding tracks, whereas in the latter, starting in the same vein, keyboards are more prominent. As the minutes pass by, ‘Found Lost’ gets quite dramatic (in a good way), adding several layers for an epic climax.

At the heart of the record lie a string of moody jams like ‘We’re Going Where’, ‘Mindwalk’ and ‘Forgot to Smile’ that offer significant substance to N°3. The first two mentioned are driven by drums whether straightforward or pounding, allowing the others to drift as they wish. The textural ambiance created by Clint Walsh perfectly complements Josh’s twangy chords, leaving the bass the options to either join them or Gardner’s beat. ‘Forgot to Smile’ is another brilliant piece that begins mainly electronic, only to be gradually covered by organic elements. Midway, the rhythm section gets locked into a cool groove. Then, all of a sudden, everything stops and a flamenco-tinged guitar pops up, mimicking the staccato bass line under Klinghoffer’s dragged croons. As everybody joins back in, the vocals feel oddly at home over this weirdly enjoyable mix. Moreover, towards the end of the album, ‘Beseech’ feels like a return to the shore from deeper waters, since it’s lighter in mood. The beautiful, high pitched keyboard leads accompany the piano, creating some gorgeous moments. Watery guitars and sweeping bass lines are audible on the latter half, further enhancing the beauty of this song. Even if the layers are often airy, the atmosphere created overall is rapidly encapsulating.

In the end, it took me several listens to understand these tracks. N°3 is considerably opaque when compared to How’s Your Process. Being closer to their debut, Inhibition, you can never guess what Josh sings about (even he admitted, jokingly, his unintelligible singing) as the vocals are frequently drowned in the mix. Nevertheless, Dot Hacker deserve praise for the atmosphere they create and easily maintain during the entire span of their LPs. Unfortunately, here they were more concerned with creating a monolithic piece and left behind some of the instantly catchy pop aspects. Therefore, there are fewer standout moments, instead leaving you several layers to unfold upon repeated listens. I must admit I am still discovering some of the tracks. Dig it.




Recent reviews by this author
Egypt Cracks and LinesSasquatch Maneuvers
Moby More Fast Songs About the ApocalypseTuber Out of the Blue
Elder Reflections of a Floating WorldSiena Root A Dream of Lasting Peace
user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Rowan5215 STAFF (3)
ice skating on a frozen pond in March...


Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2017


4284 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

All good this time. This is a great album, but a bit hard to get into. Still, it's the band's weakest.



Stream here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFaUd0DZd1s

Digging: Sasquatch - Maneuvers

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 24th 2017


23876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just listened to this. A lot of it seems artsy for the sake of art. It's all very pretty but I walked away from it not really amazed or impressed at any point.



Artwork is gorgeous, though.

Digging: Lorde - Melodrama

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2017


4284 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

That's what I thought at the beginning, it took a while to actually get into the songs. Still, I wish they included some more immediate tracks too. How's Your Process had some addictive songs like 'Elevator', 'First In Forever', 'Somersault' or 'Memory'.



The artwork is a painting done by Josh, it's simple but really nice.

Mythodea
January 24th 2017


4038 Comments


Ι've never heard of these guys but saw that Josh is in, so I decided to check to see what he does outside of RHCP. Sounds good and the production is really nice.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 24th 2017


23876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I do have a desire to keep listening to it oddly, even though it didn't make much of an impression the first time beyond "oh, that's nice." For whatever reason I want this to grow on me.

tommygun
January 24th 2017


26607 Comments


they forgot how to write songs

inhibition and HYP work are so much better

TwigTW
January 24th 2017


2534 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I enjoy listening to this as a whole, but when it finishes I don't really remember the individual songs. It is very 'pretty.' I'm not sure if in the long run it's growing into a 4, or sinking to a 3--but for now I think it's great . . . best cover art since the first album.

Digging: Saagara - 2

JigglyPDiddy
January 25th 2017


3117 Comments


Ugh, I still haven't given this a go. Huge fan of their last 3 efforts.

BlushfulHippocrene
January 25th 2017


1391 Comments


Cool review, will have to check.

Digging: Billy Woods - Known Unknowns

SirArthur6
January 25th 2017


249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

On my third listen of this and I really like unpacking this album. The hooks are more subtle but they're there. Inhibition is still their best but I think I like this more than HYPW/P.

rufinthefury
January 25th 2017


2937 Comments


is this band about the anime

JigglyPDiddy
January 25th 2017


3117 Comments


probablyyyy

Divaman
January 27th 2017


1005 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like this. Glad you reviewed it and called it to my attention. Thanks.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2017


4284 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Thanks! I didn't want to let this album go unnoticed, because it's really nice.

Aids
February 4th 2017


24403 Comments


Someone please tell Sowing to change that god awful avatar gif thing

Taoboxer9
February 7th 2017


201 Comments


Your review has me curious to check this out.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2017


4284 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Happy to hear that! Hopefully, you'll like it. If not, at least check out their previous album (How's Your Process -Work- & -Play-), it's catchier.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy