Translucent orange vinyl. Chanted primeval vocals. Detuned synths, art-rock aesthetics and krautrock repetition. A concept album about Neolithic life? The God in Hackney’s debut of strange British eclecticism is almost too perfect. With Co-Terminus’ seemingly endless chant of, ‘Is the check for the right amount?’, modern life has never been so terrifying.
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- Cave Moderne by The God in Hackney
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With the rigidness of cold krautrock and the inherent silliness that comes with taking yourself that seriously, The God In Hackney squirt out a few great songs. ‘Cave Moderne’ is a strangely creative work that tries to democratically draw on as much of the spectrum as it can while keeping to its schedule, and the result is a bunch of different stuff to nod appreciatively to: outlandish synth, guitars screeching with the weight of their feedback and evil folk ballads all feature within the first side of the record, signifying the band’s interest in making a collage. Actually, the whole thing sounds wonderfully opportunist, like the band are rummaging through a lost and found of instruments and rerouting their record accordingly: in the liner notes for “Shoofar”, the band credit vocalist Andy Cooke as playing the “significant object”.
Who knows what that means, but the song offers the ‘Cave Moderne’ standard: a propulsive but scattershot drumbeat, vocal harmonies that sound like they’re jumping through an endless set of hoops, plus some keyboards hiding away in the corner. It’s also worth noting that Ashley Marlowe is credited as playing a “cupoftea” on this track, but ultimately it sounds more like coffee. He goes on to play a “mineral deposit” on “Holt”, another cut sung in a droning monotone with a crestfallen wave of percussion. And while it sounds totally different from “Shoofar”, it delivers the same things: it’s as if the band has shed their skin and regrown it anew, only for the same life to begin. The stab synth switches things up just enough, knocking the listener over after a few good minutes of satisfied standing.
The God In Hackney’s best moment is on “Sur La Piste Des Betes Ignorees”, a track with a numbed guitar riff that falls somewhere between Unwound and Shellac, used to dampen a vocal so sonorous you could have performed the melody in your sleep. It’s their best moment of gloom purveying -- it sounds like all the lights have gone off and all the snakes are crawling towards you. When ‘Cave Moderne’ gets it right, you won’t have a comfortable time listening.
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