Sunday, 29 January 2012

Fancy some sex and rebellion? Review of The Hysterical Injury debut album (released 7 February, 2012)

The Hysterical Injury, Dead Wolf Situation LP
The Hysterical Injury Dead Wolf Situation  (Crystal Fuzz label)

Album launch gig@ Saturday, 11 February, Green Park Tavern, 45 Lower Bristol Road, BA2 3BD Bath, United Kingdom with the talented She Makes War and Klad Hest.
Let’s make this clear:
1) This review is going to require the use of CAPITALS and italics in a bid to avoid using exclamation marks, which are entirely UNCOOL and not appropriate for comment relating to a hotly tipped affair like The Hysterical Injury’s debut album.
2) Riot Pop does not refer to over-excited new bands, equal portion energy, three- chord knowledge and too many ideas. It was true “back in the day.  Now, only the latter – too many ideas, so little time - remain. Riot Pop, 2012, represents high quality musicality, some mighty fine INDEPENDENT pop songs, the bare bones of them without the cushioning production techniques, sex and rebellion, complete with swirling vocal arrangements, woo-hooo’s and catchy riffs – all of which is a pretty fair description of the songs within The Hysterical Injury’s  debut LP, Dead Wolf Situation. 
The album title instantly brings to mind the image of Roald Dahl’s Red Riding Hood in Revolting Nursery Rhymes, or more specifically, illustrator Quinten Blake’s representation of Red Riding Hood, who sits on a sofa, in a wolf skin coat, pistol in her bloomers. This is not to say the prolific songwriter and bass player, Annie Gardiner is likely to adorn herself in fur anytime soon but certainly she IS that little girl, polite, nice, with a big brain and heart to match: combined, a bomb going tick tick tick TOCK.
There are some truly sexy songs in here, things of beastly beauty, with riffs that rekindle forces not stirred since The Butthole Surfers and vocals as pitched-polite and committed as Sharon Van Etten or Laura Marling. YES, in the same song (‘Rainbow Thunderclap’, ‘Bitches Balls’, 'Maths'). Sometimes you can hear Annie’s influences, like Throwing Muses, such as in the rolling trip that is ‘Visions of Trees’.
Reflection and universal understanding are not immediate themes. Like the formidable Slow Club ‘s Paradise  even songs that sniff of a personal recount, in HI’s case, ‘Cycle One’, ‘The Works’, and which we might all relate to, emerge in to the here and now. BANG.  Here comes that overwhelming feeling of “the present”; the melodies, energy and belief .
There is no sense to the songs, but you WILL sing-along. There is a sense of fury (that's the claustrophia) and points of clarity (in the vocals). Aptly, only ‘Rosetta’s Waves’ makes sense, a song about the forgotten white Gibson 1961 playing, with cranked tube amps, heroine Sister Rossetta (1940’s-1970’s); a woman who transcended both her race and gender, only to be forgotten in the written records of our blessed rock and pop history. Annie’s moody chant suggests she was CUT out, not forgotten, because would female musicality got there sooner – it’s here, pay attention - if we’d been allowed/introduced to these female icons? Er. YES.  “This is where, where we are/Learn guitar and scream.”
There’s a difference with The Hysterical Injury brother and sister team: Annie’s bass, which fancies that it looks good (it does) in melodies, with hard ball Sonic Youth inspired true grit moments (in every song).  There is no guitar in this band but plenty of musical exhibitionism RECLAIMED. Ms Annie Gardiner works that bass in the way guitar rock stars play, but only in their dreams. It’s likely that after every song they recorded she had to replace strings, plural, and probably by the end of it, had broken the beloved instrument. ROCK AND ROLL.
Somebody used to read this girl The Wild Things at bedtime.
You can buy this album buy following the link here
You can hear and also download, for free, a track called 'Maths' at:
Also see We Made A Mess And We're Not Sorry, interview, in this blog.
Read more about The Hysterical Injury at

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