5 Sep 2017

HMLTD: Pop Music's Eureka Moment

Sometime while I was hiding from my Earthly troubles in the corner of an English Field at End of the Road this weekend, London six piece HMLTD released their fifth and sixth songs unto the world. Their radical restructuring of pop music, their unparalleled commitment to looking ridiculous, and their insatiable live performances make them the most unique new band in the world today. So fully formed after just three singles, it has to be said that just how big this band get is going to be down to how ready for them the world is, rather than how much they can develop.

Satan, Luella and I is the A-side to their new single; a track that's been in live circulation a while, it might be the best thing they've put out to date, as it's the best studio actualisation of their live sound so far. This swampy psychedelic guitar line sets the scene as Spychalski sings; "I met satan in a cheap hotel/she talked at length about Orson Welles", before the song's lifted from the musical quagmire by this outlandish cabaret piano, this exquisite vaudeville horn sound, and a scuzzy guitar that sounds like Rowland S. Howard's Birthday Party licks being sucked into the future through a k-hole. This sonic contraption is then enhanced by choral howls and female vocal harmonies that offer a breather from the ever-intensifying singing of Henry Spychalski. At 6 minutes, it's a huge statement of a song; instead of releasing obvious pop song, Proxy Love, a live favourite that sounds like The Human League, they've had the bravery to put out a swamping allegorical epic that's as discordant as it is crazy.

The b-side is Kinkaku-Ji, another live favourite, a chugging number that sounds like an elaborate hex. Sprawling guitars stretch into the distance, through the verses, sounding a little like an early period Nick Cave single, whilst its choruses are this hallucinogenic mix of glitching electronica, noughties pop and satanic croon, switching every few seconds between styles. Kinkaku-Ji is a symptom of HMLTD being a band emerging in an age of ultra short attention spans, and testament to the fact that they're the first band to properly use that to their advantage. The baffling thing about this song though, is that for all it's over the top bombast, it's something the band can recreate live with ease.

For those that haven't paid attention just yet, now's your chance. HMLTD are a once in a generation band, pop music's eureka moment. Satan, Luella and I is further proof of what I already know, and you should now too. None of the other bands matter that much, and it's only a matter of time before they bring out the album of the decade. See them when they tour in the Autumn, seriously.

(Words: Cal Cashin)