Terrible Records/Flexible Distribution
Brooklyn outfit, Hypoluxo created their latest record under something of a metaphorical storm cloud; they found themselves battling their old record label, dealing with the highs and lows of living in New York, facing eviction, the loss of family members, and then there’s Covid-19, acting as the rancid cherry on top of the crappy cake of life. Hypoluxo have channelled these frustrations into this self-titled LP and their third release as a unit; a recording that saw the quartet jettison their dream-pop sound of previous efforts in favour of tightly-wound post-punk.
To quote the album’s press release, Hypoluxo’s new album documents “the struggle of the young millennial/zoomer experience of trying to survive in New York while the world burns around you”; it’s a sense of trepidation and anxiety that fuels the four piece’s newest output, via it’s taut DNA and part-sung-part-spoken-part-barked vocals of frontman Samuel Cogen. There’s a very tangible feeling of a fast moving, claustrophobic urban landscape as Hypoluxo rattle through the album’s 10 tracks, all of which taking on slightly different guises of post-punk’s angular idiosyncrasies, with mostly good results, albeit some moments have the tendency to blur into one.
As it’s an album inspired by the glowing embers of the world around it, Hypoluxo doesn’t leave you wanting for moments shot through with anxiety. Found at the LP’s core, ‘Tenderloin’ conveys the perpetual nervous energy that’s on offer as wiry guitars coalesce with rapid drums. Amongst the staccato melee, Cogen can be heard questioning “will everything be fine?” and “you should have asked for help” like someone trying to feel his way through life’s woes. ‘Shock’ tells the story of when Cogen attended his cousin’s funeral in Louisiana, as the lead singer found himself ruminating “I was mulling over the different facets of loss and how we cope with it, individually and as a community”. Through a cyclical haze that comes across like a dreamy version of The Smiths, Cogen manages to encapsulate the notion of grief and uncertainly “stressing out/sweaty palms/grinding teeth/inside out” and “tell me what it all means” typify a man searching for some solace in a world turned upside down. ‘Appetiser’ opts for a looser approach, with the song trapped in a shimmering, omnipresent glow. Matters take on an introspective tone as Cogen deep dives into some soul searching “I lack motivation” and “someday I’ll change” capture a weather weary man stuck in a rut. Closing track ‘Sweat’ follows a similar vein, as Cogen can be heard questioning “oh why should I waste my time?” as the song and album reaches a climax peppered with revving guitars and machine gun drumming.
Unpredictable, frantic, erratic and a little flawed, Hypoluxo is very much a product of these times.
Words and thoughts by Adam Williams
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