Altered Hours – In Heat Not Sorry – Album Review

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Altered hours in heat not sorry review

In Heat Not Sorry  Is Out 29 January Via Art For Blind/Penske Recordings.

The debut from Ireland’s Altered Hours, In Heat Not Sorry starts off sounding like a generic dream pop album, yet by the second song it becomes obvious that this band is doing something very different. Track two punches in with grungy post-punk chugs accompanied by synth sounds floating, almost whistling, in the background. It’s an odd mix. I would be tempted to say that it doesn’t work stylistically but I can’t because it sounds too good. The third track, ‘Rotting’, begins to showcase the band’s obvious Sonic Youth influence, which is confirmed by the Kim Gordon style vocals in ‘Birds’. Half way through the album it starts to seem impossible to pin down exactly what this band is doing, but it also becomes clear that they are doing it really well.

In their two previous EP releases, Altered Hours seemed to be playing out their sound by trying on different styles. In Heat Not Sorry is the culmination of that experimentation. It displays their unique ability to merge musical styles in a way that sounds focused and intentional. Is it psychedelic rock? Is it shoegaze? Is it post-punk? Grunge? Yes it is.

The album will be released to the world on January 29th by Art For Blind / Penske Recordings, and I’m convinced that it will make big splashes within Ireland’s psychedelic music scene and far beyond. The band has already toured extensively and reportedly delivers a live show that matches the intensity of their music. The release of In Heat Not Sorry will be followed by shows throughout Ireland, Europe, and the United Kingdom.

The album is dark and atmospheric, both in its musical stylings and lyrical content. Some songs have an introspective, spooky feel, and others are loudly abrasive. Some invoke the dreamy feeling of floating on a cloud while others are grounded and confident. Brilliantly, some have all of these elements artistically intertwined. The album’s second single, ‘Silver Leather’, released last December, is a perfect example of this skillful variation. Even the song’s lyrics are steeped in internal conflict and a desire to reach deep into the past for a purity of musical influence. Altered Hours’ Cathal McGabhann told Fader magazine that “the song stands for a general disgust and rebellion against modern life and harks back to an ancient form of rock and roll.”

The recording process itself was experimental in many ways. It was an attempt to harness the bands live energy and ability to channel songs with haunting improvisational skill. The Altered Hours second EP, Sweet Jelly Roll, was recorded by Fabien Leseure in Berlin (A Recordings). After the success of the recording, the band scheduled a return to Berlin to work more closely with Leseure. They spent three weeks playing with sound and experimenting with recordings. What emerged was the expansive yet cohesive debut, In Heat Not Sorry. You can hear the whole album in all its complexity on January 29, 2016.

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