Leeds’s Hood is one of the more unusual bands to sandwich genres. Having started as something of a post-rock group, they since evolved into a glitchy, IDM-treated pastoral folk act with connections and collaborations with Anticon collective artists on top of that. And they’re quite good at all of it. In fact, in the hands of most other artists, their oddball stylistic cramming might not work; they just happen to know how to let the lines blur to the point that it becomes one whole entirely new musical approach. Keeping all of this in mind, it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Hood member Chris Adams’ first solo album under the name Bracken has been released on the Anticon imprint, a label whose artists not only have ties to Hood, but many also seem to share their genre-mashing aesthetic.
We Know About the Need isn’t all that far removed from a Hood release, actually. Sputtering electronic beats, effects-draped vocals and subtle, haunting melodies all play a large part in Adams’ repertoire. And while there aren’t any dance-friendly singles in the way of “The Lost You” on this release, the album as a whole flows with accessible melodies and gorgeous sounds throughout. Opener “Of Athroll Slains” is a baroque trip-hop, utilizing backward samples, hefty reverb and creepy strings to create a chill, yet eerie atmosphere. “Heathens” is somewhat catchier, plodding along with a buzzing organ hook and no shortage of dreamy effects.
“Evil Teeth” and “Fight Or Flight” are more complex arrangements, the latter building up in subtle ways from lighter than air ambience, while the former crashes and clangs with electronics and percussion dueling like sword wielding shogun in a burning village. To offset these less immediate constructions, Adams has packed in a few more melodic gems, such as the rollicking “Four Thousand Style” and the melancholy “Safe Safe Safe”.
Adams’ compositions are intricate and involved, giving off an air both relaxed and frantic. The pace remains consistently moderate, but the paranoia and dramatic atmosphere that Adams creates is so overwhelming and awe-inspiring, one can hardly call it “downtempo.” A logical extension from Hood, rather than a direct replica, We Know About the Need delves into the deepest corners of Adams’ other band, merely to extract something a little more abstract and harsh, but equally mesmerizing.
Hood – Cold House
Lali Puna – Faking the Books
cLOUDDEAD – Ten
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.