Hunter-Gatherer – Nighthood

Cathal Prendergast
Posted December 5, 2012 in Music Reviews

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Hunter-Gatherers debut I Dreamed I Was A Footstep In The Trail Of A Murderer was distilled and bottled unease; both unsettling and alluring, like a protector that watches you sleep. Treading the same path as Fever Ray’s solo record, the album was simultaneously insomniac and narcoleptic music for the wee hours, almost impossible to listen to during daylight. The Dubliner’s follow-up effort Nighthood is much less angular, setting itself limitations and never moving beyond a bedroom-beats mentality.

Electronic music doesn’t come much sparser than this and the back-to-basics production vibe will appeal to some but there’s an immediate lack of spontaneity present. The opening title track couples ominous ambience with jerking click tracks and snare hits but lacks the pure malice of the debut albums stiff innovation, while ‘Last Light’ channels Mogwai at their most stripped and electronically inclined. This is the bare essentials of night-time music with no frills whatsoever. ‘Act Of Sorrow’ continues the scantiness, laying down some contemplative sounds but ultimately never taking off. ‘Hollowpoint’ ups the tempo, showcasing some eclectic synthesiser dance that Björk might have lilted over in the early nineties but it’s again lacking freshness and clarity. The moody soundscapes of ‘Oubliette’ are probably the best examples of the records forgettable nature; while the debut album took its time to leave a mark, these tracks pass by hastily without making a lasting impression.

‘Pasts’ explores the low end of things, juxtaposing throbbing bass with sharp and disconcerting piano keys, while ‘We Are Making A New World’ plods along listlessly for eight minutes; a wasted opportunity to brandish some thought-provoking sound manipulations. Time to hunt for innovation, gather some varied sounds and bring things out of the bedroom for the next release.

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