Hymie's Basement
Hymie's Basement


4.5
superb

Review

by owl beanie STAFF
July 31st, 2017 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: preaching to the convertible

And I might treat you like a wall I walk by,

with my headphones on and my eyes all gone...

And I might treat you like the buzzing of flies,

With dignity shy and sockets torn...


---

I wrote a haiku about this record the other day and I don’t think I realised I was doing it. Maybe it happened during the reverie-inducing Pretty Colours, a song that keeps its daydreaming eyes transfixed on an ecosystem of abstractions. Or, no, it probably happened during American Won/American Too – a soundtrack to the most miserable night out on the town ever, a night in which those kinetic hours are spent lining the gutter with bed sheets instead of flailing ecstatic under strobe lights. It’s imagery dissolves as its sung, letting us -- the listener -- impart our own social context. This considered -- in the interest of pride, said haiku shall not be disclosed.

This music is neurotic; an exposed nerve in Yoni Wolf’s back catalogue. He is desperate here – desperate enough to talk to God about fucking, desperate enough to consider lobotomy as a panacea for loneliness, and desperate enough to box up imperfect takes for shipping. But, for your consideration: Hymie’s Basement will always be there – on your Spotify or in your CD player – to play its part as society’s antithesis. 21st Century Pop Song’s clicking bones act as a critique of urban docility without ever actually addressing it directly, toying with inferences towards gentrification and needless warfare. And yet the duo remain ambiguous, more concerned with the circus flea than the dollar bill.

But the most scathing critique is communicated by the record’s roughly sewn edges. The songs here are scarred and idiosyncratic; I mean, the album is prefaced by an impromptu chuckle. But Hymie’s Basement’s haphazard, half-asleep demeanour proves itself the perfect way to convey the disaffection of 21st century living. What better way to appraise social values than to bare your mistakes so proudly on the final cut ("FUCKIN’ SHIT”), and what better way to bring your listeners back down to Earth if not with a cavernous, downtempo piano interlude?

And Yoni Wolf, the warped brain at the basement’s heart, remains incorrigibly playful with all the things he should not be playful with. Not to reduce Broder to a number, his contributions are plentiful (“males of the world you are despicable”), but Wolf’s patchwork vocal delivery is delightfully impossible to hold still. He whispers in Lightning Bolts and Man Hands (aka heartbreak) and intones in a choked-up monotone throughout Ghost Dream as if he’s bored but perpetually frustrated – eating a microwaved dinner over the evening news, experimenting with turns of phrase as the spiritless glow of the TV screen burns into his retinae.

Hymie's Basement is a cold and claustrophobic place, which is vital. It is far and away from the blinding, overbearing nothingness of quotidian routine. It allays this pervasive cultural anesthesia by accosting it over dissonant guitar patterns, and then it recoils back against the thick stone walls like a sheep in Wolf's clothing. Come upstairs, kids, dinner's ready.

---

All american male product shelf-life agony,

masturbate your birthday party...

if you're lonely, get a lobotomy,

The wall I walk by is speaking to me...




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Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

america's a blinding place

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2017


14598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i meant to review this months ago and never got round to it

Digging: Camel - Mirage

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

!!



the more attention brought to this album the better so you might as well still mort

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2017


14598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i like this review although i feel its more conceptual than actually expressive of what the lp sounds like



cool job.



21st century pop song got me hooked on these guys v quick

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2017


14598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

na i had a half started review for it but then didnt have the motivation. i dont force myself to write if nothing is coming easily.



cant write much at the moment anyway seeming as im moving house this week and started a new job last week. v busy

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


11746 Comments


Yet another pleasurable read as per usual. You have an enviable style and vocab man. I want to check this, seems kinda sad though based on how you've described it so I'll wait for the right time.

Digging: Mercyful Fate - Melissa

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks pal i don't usually like critiquing someone's sound because i don't want to seem like i'm trying to dictate what is meant to sound 'good' to any given listener. idk maybe it's something i need to improve on???



and yeah fair enough, i like your writing lots though, keen to see more

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks scuro!



parts of it are sad but if you've only got time to check one song, check out 21st Century Pop Song -- the hook on that thing is siiiiiiiiiiiiick

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks scuro!



parts of it are sad but if you've only got time to check one song, check out 21st Century Pop Song -- the hook on that thing is siiiiiiiiiiiiick

ianblxdsoe
July 31st 2017


1916 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

phenomenal review as usual man, you're on an upwards trajectory. def one of the most talented on the site conceptually and consistently. motivates me personally

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

**oh internet gods why have you forsaken me with a double-post



thank you ian, inspiration is a two-way street < 3

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2017


14598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah 21st century pop song has a mad hook



shout like ur dad at the tv screen.........

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

YOU PUT YOUR LIFE IN THE HANDS OF THE HIGHWAY DESIGNER

clavier
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


1068 Comments


Oh jack, if you applied your output and quality to the food industry all the artisanal places would immediately go bankrupt

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2017


25028 Comments


21st century pop song was on my spotify discover weekly playlist like 2 months ago and I dug it hard but never listened to this in full...guess I have to now.

cool review Jack but now I wanna see that Haiku D:

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thankkkkkkkkkkyouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu leeeeeeeegeeeeeeeeeends



it was very very bad and i repurposed part of it for a line in this review so happy digging

Yep321
July 31st 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Do you even know Fog?

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2017


25028 Comments


also I like this review style the best when its like just the right dash of musical description without being too overbearing or too conceptual. this kind of balance is something I struggle with in my less traditional reviews so it's nice to see someone do it well

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


3099 Comments


Who the hell is LandDiving? I don't know, review's mediocre, all you did was post lyrics from the album and chuck some parentheses and dashes here and there. Hymie's Basement is the name of the album, not an actual place...

Digging: Keaton Henson - Six Lethargies

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2017


2424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

:kmstbh:



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