Eric Schackne

REVIEW: Hidden Hospitals – ‘EP 002’

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For fans of Jimmy Eat World, Thursday and alternative, Hidden Hositals has new music for you.  In their simply-titled EP 002, they aim to show that a band can flip pop structure on it’s head, making a ton of noise in the process.  Knowing very little about them, I’m excited to click play.

An alluring and looping guitar riff draws you into the EP with “Featherweight.”  Joined by some dark swells, the band eventually kicks into this galloping yet cool rhythm.  With a voice along the lines of Thursday’s Geoff Rickly, David Raymond graces the instrumentation nicely.  Hidden Hospitals is making me feel like I’m 18 again, as the hard-hitting chorus emerges.  The subtle production on Raymond’s voice keeps this track raw and rocking.

Jumping right into the noise again, “The Absence of Emotion” hits you right away.  With the drummer’s driving and simple performance, the vocals circulate the tempo that puts you in a trance for the heavy-hitting chorus.  This song was all too short for me at just under three minutes.  “Picture Perfect” keeps me locked in though, showing a more delicate side of Hiden Hospitals.  Grumbling and phasing waves of noise matched with an elegant gang of ooh’s and ahh’s lays the groundwork for  a contained verse.  With a short break, the chorus unleashes with dark bass tones and a crying guitar above everything.  Lifting the second verse up subtly with guitar presence and harmonies gives this song it’s pop potential.

The appropriately haunting vocals of “Monsters” provides the intro for their most obvious showcasing of their uniquely dark instrumentation.  Keeping the tempo down for this one, this feels like the soundtrack to the end of the world.  There’s a glorious pairing here with the high and low frequencies between vocals, guitars, and bass.  For the first time, I’m noticing similarities to another of my old Warped Tour favorites, Matchbook Romance.

Without really achieving the intensity of their opening tracks, the final track “Lullaby” is still no lullaby.  Alternating between lyric and percussion-intensive sections and body-swaying chorus gives this track its energy.  This track is also one of the most interesting musically, and I’m kept on my toes as the parts morph and abruptly change.  And then, as quickly as it began, the record is over.

Hidden Hospitals is throwing some modern production on some older influences with EP 002, and they did manage to vary up their sound enough to keep it interesting.  I didn’t feel like this release was a piece in and of itself, but a selection of tracks they may have been proud of.   I’m just personally a fan of grouping songs together for a purpose.  I look forward to another release from them.

Track list:
The Absence of Emotion
Picture Perfect

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