Release Date: Aug 20, 2013
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Stoner Metal, Space Rock
Brooklyn-based cosmic trio White Hills' heavy-riffing space rock was birthed out of Hawkwind's galactic loneliness and knocked off course somewhere by a meteor inhabited by spasmodic guitar soloing aliens. Growing through a stream of near-constant releases, White Hills' internal weirdness and propensity toward noise has escalated, bringing them to So You Are... So You'll Be.
Fans of fuzzed-out space rock will be familiar with the stupidly prolific White Hills, centred upon the duo of frontman Dave W. and awkwardly named bassist Ego Sensation. So You Are... So You'll Be (the NYC band's seventh studio album) opens with "InWords," a brief red herring of an intro built upon the chime of a subway intercom announcement and layered with demonic vocals.
Describing their own sound as “fuzzed out motorik spacerock”, New York based White Hills have released some 10 albums since their 2005 debut They’ve Got Blood Like We’ve Got Blood. The prolific output ranges from heavy thrash to blips and bleeps with a healthy dollop of psychedelic metal, all built around the vision of core members guitarist Dave W and bassist Ego Sensation. The eponymous album of 2010 enjoyed considerable critical acclaim, with general comparisons to Hawkwind being common; the other worldly, spacey musical landscapes that White Hills create can be compelling and absorbing at times and their reputation has now seen them earn a support slot to the legendary UK goth rock gods The Cult on their current US tour.
It’s taken eight years and seven albums for White Hills to achieve this: cruising altitude. The group’s latest full-length, So You Are… So You’ll Be, arrives on the heels of 2012’s Frying on This Rock; in place of the seething riffage leader David W. has been stoking lately, So You Are tacks toward cooler climes. It’s an interesting direction for the band to take.
Dave W. and Ego Sensation describe their band’s music very carefully. White Hills is “fuzzed out motorik space rock.” They use the phrase in almost all interviews. It’s in the header of the band’s website, and it’s in the bio above their Twitter feed. Like how it’s presented here, .
“Forever in Space,” the longest and best cut on this seventh album from White Hills, begins in a cosmic soup of noises, a dead black void across which pinging, hissing, whistling electronic effects careen untethered to conventions like key, time signature or motif. A pulse builds slowly, bass and drums insinuating a faint eighth-note heartbeat into this inhuman landscape. Guitar notes flare and fade Doppler-style, trailing comet tails of tremolo’d sound.
The chaotic guitar thrashing of ‘In Your Room’; the propulsive psychedelia of the album’s title track; the menace of ‘Circulating’s glacial industrial-ness: New York’s White Hills are vying for every ounce of your attention as their cranked up seven-minute guitar jams can muster. Like previous album ‘Frying on this Rock,’ guitarist and singer David W has enlisted engineer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans), and none of White Hills’ trademark abrasiveness has disappeared. ‘Rare Upon Earth’, for example, is an aggressive, eardrum busting guitar-jam that could easily fit anywhere in the pandemonium of ‘Frying on this Rock’ or its predecessor ‘H-p1.