Those that know me best (take pity on them, please) will tell you that my preferred choice of post-work listening tends to be something bastard-heavy and totally mum-unfriendly. Only last night I returned home to find my girlfriend enjoying some anti-folk nonsense. Needless to say that it was swiftly replaced by some Isis and 5ive. Yet Hella present me with a problem: on the one hand, their crazy-fast, Lightning Bolt-style rawk ‘n’ rawl action has me pounding my chest like a Gorilla Biscuit; yet on the other, they’re capable of feather-light, easy on the ear diversions. How can this be? Best consult the scriptures again…
…Yet again the scriptures reveal nothing, so let’s give the press release a glance. Hella are a two-piece from Sacramento (that’s where the Deftones are from, innit?). Spencer Seim plays guitar – loudly – and Zach Hill bashes the drums – equally loudly. ‘The Devil Isn’t Red’, the band’s first album from what I can make out, was recorded live, with no overdubs or digital fiddling, by a guy called Tony at a studio called Retro Fit. BUT; is it any good!?
Yes and no. Whilst fans of the aforementioned Lightning Bolt, Pink and Brown, Quasi and the like will favour the two-piece set up, others may find the band’s purely one-dimensional approach hard to swallow. There’s no fault in the writing – it’s just that two-piece outfits can only explore so many avenues without spreading themselves horribly thin. Sometimes lush, and sometimes boisterously brash, ‘The Devil Isn’t Red’ _is _really worth the time and money of an open-minded sort, but if your idea of an alternative two-piece extends about as far as The White Stripes, you’re best off leaving records like this to people like myself; people with no concept of what constitutes a tune and what is actually just a load of noise, and who find ALL buttons hard to button (fat fingers y'see). After all, I have a girlfriend to annoy, and this does the trick nicely.
7Mike Diver's Score