End States

Goddamn this is good; swelling, caustic yet melodic post hardcore that drips with rending, paranoid intensity at every chord shift. Imagine the biting, jangly discordance of Circle Takes the Square mixed with the ambient, simplistic note progressions and pulse of Amanda Woodward (so then by default also Neurosis). Throw in some painfully screamed female vocals courtesy of Michelle Proffit, and you have Hiretsukan, who reformed to record this stunning debut record.

What drives this draining, emotional record is the structures of the songs, that while simple (and at times repetitive) in their structures, are incredibly emotive; Dave Sanders’ basic riffs are so simple yet evocative in their expansive harmony. The simple bass of Derek Wimble pulses in the background without flash or flair, just a malevolent, sturdy backdrop to the grainy guitars and the ‘giving birth to a 44lb baby without an epidural’ vocals of Proffit.

Though barely 30 minutes long and tangibly unvaried, I was enthralled by the sheer level of shimmering yet neurotically caustic harmonies that echo on each and every track of End States. From the muted opening of “Circling Boy”, the desperate “Manual Function”, strummed duality and angst of “Song For Wilhelmina Vautrin”, the dramatically melodic “Her Article”, the eloquently dark acoustics of “19 Year Barrier”, the hypnotic segue of “Placement Services” and all the way through to the stunning closer “Tight Not Touching”, Hiretsukan left me hanging on the end of every note progression to where I take a deep breath after each listen.

Lyrically, Proffit touches all bases from Terrorism (“Click and Repeat”) to suicide (“19 Year Barrier”) all delivered with her genuinely taught and pained wails. The Don Fury production (Agnostic Front, GG Allin, Born Against) is raw but sheathed in fury befitting the hanging melodies and striking hysterics of Proffit.

With all the big name releases recently, this album has been in constant rotation, flailing with inspired ambition amid the big label and big production affairs that grace my mailbox. Superb stuff.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
August 19th, 2005


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