The self titled album. What does it mean? Some bands use it to reset expectations, pointing forward to a new direction. Other bands use it to trim away the excess of the earlier releases, streamlining the sound for a mass audience. What I like about self titled releases from bands like The Beatles and Metallica is that they ended up becoming memorable with the band’s discography (yes, The Beatles before I was born). I’m not 100% sure what to say about Weezer’s 3 self titled records, but Peter Gabriel’s 4 self titled records are all brilliant in their own unique way. How about if you are a new-ish band on the scene? If you are Hyena Motorcade out of Los Angeles, you offer up an EP that showcases the band’s many strengths.
Hyena Motorcade features Rick Kaley on vocals, Mark Allen on guitar, Art Agunod on bass, and Alberto Campos on drums. All members of the band have deep roots in the Los Angeles Goth and post-punk scenes with ties to bands such as Ex-Voto and BloodPenny. What I like about the band is that it isn’t a simple retreat of late 70’s / early 80’s post-punk – they introduce disparate elements that bring to mind both the abrasive tendencies of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds as well as the pop leanings of The Psychedelic Furs. Speaking of the ‘Furs, early ‘Motorcade recordings caught the eye of guitarist John Ashton and the band has been in talks to work with him on their upcoming debut record. This is a buzz worthy band and I’m happy to say the music lives up to the growing hype. This initial 4 track EP is a masterful introduction to the band and points the way towards greater things to come.
10,000 Sparrows features melodic guitar interplay, reminiscent of The Chameleons. Kaley’s voice is perfectly suited to the lyrics “Across the sky / 10,000 sparrows / they’ll never die”. Brooding, mysterious – interrupted only perfectly timed guitar squalls. Halfway through the song the tempo shifts, a reprieve from the darkness. A catharsis of sorts, it elevates the song to greatness. Heartbreaks initially reminded me of The Cure – bouncing guitar lines, something out of the mid 80’s. The vocals enter the mix and the vibe shifts to something completely different. Emotive vocals, killer bass line, memorable guitar licks – a perfect track. Think The Cure mixed with The Psychedelic Furs. Snowflakes slithers along like a spy theme – the saxophone reminding me of the dark side of The Teardrop Explodes or The Birthday Party. “the world is spinning out in space / you’ve got a black look on your face”. Vocals tiptoe around a Beat Poetry vibe, and those saxophone lines – amazing. I have to say, this is my favorite song on the record. The EP closes out with All Alone – a melodic slice of post-punk pop (I think I just made up that term). The song could serve as distillation of what the band does well, and the saxophone midway through the song drives the point home.
This is a band you should keep an eye on – with tunes this great, they just might be the next Interpol or The Strokes. You can pick up the album via all the usual suspects (Amazon, Itunes, CDBaby). Go ahead and follow the band on Facebook while you’re at it.
Verdict: Gem out of LA
For Fans of: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, The Teardrop Explodes, The Chameleons, David Bowie