Release Date: Feb 8, 2005
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Calling Hood the post-rock Madonna would be a stretch, but it's a comparison worth considering. For well over a decade now, the Leeds band has been nothing if not attentive, picking up on new trends within their sphere, evaluating them, and incorporating the good ideas into their records as they simultaneously refine themselves -- all this while seeming to arrive at their songs with the finesse of a wayward drunk stumbling into a doorway that just happens to lead to a bar stool. Occasionally they take the good ideas and improve upon them.
It's somewhere during the fifth minute of the second-to-last song, Closer, that it happens. Space appears between the tightly layered, politely hushed, war of words. The icy relationship between the pastoral imagery and soulful, urban rhythm starts to melt, and Hood turn from sonic adventurers to obscure pop wonders. Having dallied with indie and dub, lo-fi mumblings and Mogwai-indebted soundscapes, Hood finally honed their nature-meets-nurture aesthetics and found a cosy home for their uncomfortable songs on last album Cold House.
Hood’s sixth full-length is both an assimilation and a revisitation. From its mid-’90s debut Cabled Linear Traction, the Leeds-based quartet has followed a consistent path further and further away from the grungy “lo-fi” pop ambience that pervades its early material. A plethora of singles and compilation tracks blaze a more experimental and consequently more circuitous trail, but comprehensive listening shows the same embracing of the jazzy textures which inform Cycle of Days and Seasons, followed by electronic abstraction, ala their 2001 album Cold House; indeed, some of Cycle’s mellow airiness persists in the rhythmically and melodically challenging techno-rock atmospheres of that rewarding if somewhat mystifying effort.