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Album Review



Review Date
11th March 2013
Reviewed by
Nich Cunningham

With their patented dislike of vowels, HDSPNS carve their own niche with an eclectic flair. Their recently released debut EP EAI not only makes use of those aforementioned discarded letters but also encapsulates their approach like some kind of Indie Prog rock smorgasbord but unlike the selection at Valentines, it is fresh and appetizing. HDSPNS have described themselves as sponges when it comes to influence, but this EP suggests a much more discerning approach than that would suggest: EAI is a tight collection of carefully crafted material that reflects an attention to detail combined with a keen awareness structure and song.

The opening track 'California Grapes Make Plum Jam' kicks off with a bass arpeggio that would make Jacko Pastorius proud before the band joins in for the teasing chant-like verse. HDSPNS demonstrate their firm grasp for dynamics with the abrupt climactic interweaving instrumental chorus. At times reminiscent of other local luminaries such as Sunken Seas but with a shorter attention span, their music defies prediction and the next track 'Total Clarity' introduces a choral vibe before employing the familiar dance punk linear drum feel. But unlike much of that genre, the song still maintains an openness and sense of space.

'Kite Height' demonstrates the bands appreciation of post-punk by-way-of Gang of Four or perhaps The Rapture but resists the overtly dance-yness of the later. Instead HDSPNS employ this style as a basis for what sounds like extensively refined jams. Consequently their music feels very much like it has been focused through a New Zealand lens: perhaps most evidently so in the vocals which are deployed sparingly but interestingly and effectively. Putting aside the music nerd stuff, what actually is important though is that this is a collection of relatively varied , interesting and exciting songs. Bottom line.

HDSPNS have produced a strong debut and it would be great to see them continue and expand on this eclectic and interesting vein they have opened. In a world where there are hundreds if not thousands of bands constantly releasing material and clamoring for attention, this is one release that deserves some cut-through: their ability to operated within established conventions whilst elaborating and fusing peripheral elements sets them apart from many contemporaries.



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