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The Hickey Underworld - The Hickey Underworld

The Hickey Underworld

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

HAILING from Belgium, The Hickey Underworld are all about merging the worlds of hardcore, punk and alternative rock. As such, expect loud things from this eponymous album.

As their own PR candidly admit, The Hickey Underworld is a juddering, thunderous, multi-headed monster of a record – part post-hardcore catharsis, part discordant melody overload…part unknown other.

In truth, it becomes a litte overwhelming in places… the guitars, pounding drums and shouty vocals coming at you like a near-constant sonic assault.

But there are moments of exception, when the mix is right and the band excel. Former single Blonde Fire is one such occasion, as is Flamen Corpse .

While Future Words drops the tempo slightly and delivers a belting record that’s high on melody and boasts one of the best vocal performances on the LP (a keen mix of Bono and Julian Casablancas).

Elsewhere, however, the album becomes a bit excessive and generally more hardcore. There remains elements of bands such as Nirvana and The Strokes (especially, in the latter’s case) vocally.

But the overall sense of satisfaction is found wanting… and the rousing appeal of songs like Blonde Fire is replaced by a general feeling of wanting to get out of here.

It’s a shame because The Hickey Underworld can’t be faulted for ambition or energy. They perhaps need a little more focus and a little more diversity.

Editor’s note: If you’re a fan, the symbolically-loaded, talismanic/pseudo-Masonic artwork of The Hickey Underworld (and website for that matter) is worth a look.

Open up the sleeve or log on and you’ll find a mystical world full of symbols and hidden messages, a psychedelic state of the world representation inspired by Brazilian horror/sexploitation film maker Ze do Caixao, aka Coffin Joe.

The artwork took many months to construct, yet such attention to detail is all part of the band’s reaction to a digital/download culture that’s big on accessibility but down on the idea of a band as a complete package.

Download picks: Blonde Fire, Future Words, Flamen Corpse

Track listing:

  1. Zero Hour
  2. Sick Of Boys
  3. Blonde Fire
  4. Zoraydo
  5. Future Words
  6. Mystery Bruise
  7. Of Asteroids And Men Plus Added Wizardry
  8. Blue World Order
  9. Flamen Corpse
  10. VRMNSMR