Swedish group Hills are dedicated to ever-escalating psychedelic freakouts, which they pull off with aplomb. But, crucially, they are also keen to avoid cliche, and their tracks keep things original with slightly unusual structures and lesser-spotted instruments like the flute. Frid, their third album, is released by Rocket Recordings.
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- Frid by Hills
7/10 Robin Staff review, 27 August 2015
It’s been a pretty good season for flute psych, I must say, and Hills are here to finish what Pridjevi started, offering an unbranded type of swirler rock that’s as loose as my shoelaces (n.b. I have a problem with shoelaces; I’m working through it at my own pace). On ‘Frid’ they groan out riffs like your average psych jam band, but keep them crunching with a continuous lock-in on distortion; in the process, they sound as much like a stoner band or a recent jam of Godspeed’s, but they also incorporate sitars, flutes and hand drums as a way of breaking down the wall of sound. So, you know: in trying not to be a cliche they have totally succumbed to being a cliche.
Which is okay: these instrumentals still sound nice. The band create swell grooves (as on the beginning of “National Drone”) and are good at slowing things into a droning segue (the end of “KolleKliv”). “AnuKthal is here” is arguably the record’s high point, switching the wailing circular riffs for acoustic strums that suddenly reposition the band as a folk freakout band who owe a vibe or two to Exuma. You don’t have to be original to be versatile, and Hills are able to create an atlas of psych, rather than write a new book for it; this acoustic track incorporates faraway vocal moans and reverberating effects to sound bigger than any hypnosis rock you might be used to.
You can sound like the Heads and still make vast jams for your listeners to fall into, and part of Hills' appeal is that they're trying new things, not inventing them.
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