Thursday 23 October 2014

Hands Up Who Wants To Die - Vega In The Lyre (Album Review)

Vega In The Lyre cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 25th Sept 2014
Label: Learning Curve Records

Vega In The Lyre - Tracklisting

1. Now Beacon, Now Sea.
2. Scoops.
3. Burnt Yesterday.
4. False Dawn.
5. No Big Deal.
6. Dreft.
7. The Brotherhood.
8. Beauts Malone.


HUWWTD are four. Based in Dublin. Make abrasive noise-rock which has been described as "all angles and noise, edges and respite, razor riffs, visceral vocals, heinous hooks, yet on the face of it, as smooth as a mirror, as sheer as cliff-face", "Big'N and enablers in a blender" and "socially aware slab punk with constant discordant meanderings".

- 2 tracks on a Richter Collective Singles night CD with Guilty Optics & BATS released in 2009

- 10" Split with I'll Eat Your Face from Cork released in 2010 on Richter Collective

- LP 'Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo' released on Richter Collective in 2012

- Second LP 'Vega in the Lyre' released September 2014 on Learning Curve, Art For Blind, Whobrain, Gabu, Triplejump & Wahshtuff

- Split 7" with B.O.B. from Montpellier for release late 2014 on Gabu


BL - Words
PC - Guitar/Bass
MH - Bass/Guitar
JB - Kit


You really have to be absolutely sodden with audacity, to release a two-year-old record that ends up trumping some of the most touted noise rock releases of the last six months. Hands Up Who Wants To Die have essentially proved themselves to be that little shit that arrives late to an exam, leaves after the first half an hour, and you just know deep inside that the little fucking prick has aced it.

Setting a foot firmly back in reality though, it’s easy to imagine the weight a band may have to carry on their shoulders when they’re on the cusp of releasing a record that they’ve had a long time to lay in bed with. Weight, pressure, anxiety, none of them necessary if there ever was any, because 'Vega In The Lyre' is an unhinged joy, more perversely deviant than 2012’s Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo, but every bit as hazardous.

This ditty gets started up with very little foreplay, straight in, no kissing. ‘Now Beacon, Now’ jerks and rattles to life with abrasive math-rock strings, a controlled discordancy that carries on over to ‘Scoops’ and sets you up for this audio equivalent of a malfunctioning robot. ‘Burnt Yesterday’ twitches anxiously before finally fracturing into a full-blown panic attack, vocalist Barry Lennon’s deranged yells caught hopelessly in a current of inhuman distortion that thrusts and batters.

If ‘Burnt Yesterday’ indicates that 'Vega In The Lyre' is an incredibly moody record, then ‘False Dawn’ seals that deal with pounding bass and percussion that frames and marries a sepulchral, cumbersome drone. ‘No Big Deal’ arrives all jittery with its dancing shoes on, boasting of a good, stout bass sound that turns disgracefully heavy and ominous on ‘Dreft’, a track that really embodies the musicianship on this bad boy.  Harmony and noise clashing in a melodrama that’s as despondent as it is aggressive.

The Brotherhood’ is helter-skelter restlessness that only takes time to breathe right before ‘Beauts Malone’, a strident bastard of a track that pummels and shudders with the reminiscence of Croatian noise rock baby-makers, Sexa. A rush of digital noise and feedback brings this monument to dissonance to a close, and you’re back.

Alongside psychedelic maniacs, Wild Rocket, HUWWTD have offered up another reason why everyone should be keeping an ear out for new Irish tunes. 'Vega In The Lyre' is the sound of a band who have had been able to put out exactly the kind of record that they wanted to, no rushing and no fussing, and it’s clearly evident in the quality of the recordings and in that of the musicianship and song writing. It’s a writhing, snarling mutant that shows moments of humanness throughout, but never for long enough to trick you into thinking it’s benevolent. This is one that I’m sure will go down a treat in the live arena as well, and I look forward to spilling booze all over myself to it. It’s been a good year for wholesome, home-grown Irish turbulence.

Words by Liam Doyle

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