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May 5, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Album Review: HDU – Metamathics

High Dependency Unit’s new album Metamathics is a lot like a mallow puff. Opening track ‘Stupormodel’ is a crackly chocolate shell of punky staccato beeps, clearly channeling the spirit of Joy Division (especially given its droll vocals). Once you bite through this shell, you get three tracks of drawn-out, wallowy centre: on ‘Grace’, Julia Deans contributes spacy vocals to a wash; single ‘Tunguska’, by far the prettiest track on the album, brings us back to Cross Channel Multitap’s opening mix of euphoric hum plus steady drum beat; ‘The National Grid’ then delves further into ambience, stretching out the marshmallow centre to a full half hour. The album is then brought to a close by the crisp percussion biscuit base of ‘Irma Vep’ before closing off with some nice piano on ‘Wish We Were Here.’ Delicious.

It’s a cliché to say that great live bands (and live, HDU are far more than great) cannot capture the ‘energy’ of their live performances in the studio. For HDU, the problem is more that their music is so physical – a presence you feel reverberating in your bones guts jaw, and through your skin to your boyfriend’s fingertips – that it is simply impossible to record. It can be hinted at with the help of a very good sound system, but it isn’t the thing itself. So yes, by all means listen to this album – it is gorgeous, and the intricate hand-drawn pattern on the cover is also sweet – but really, you need to go and see them this Thursday at San Fran.

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Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

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