- by Rob Taylor Release Date:2015-04-06 Label: Thrill Jockey
On Walks for Motorists, White Hills apply the wire brush to psychedelic rock’s teflon coating. Lacerating, hell-destined rock music for head nodding, not nodding off. Perverse, unworldly chants, like "Liberate!” from ‘Lead the Way’, delivered in mordant voice, a mantra for drug-fucked liberal arts students, and a mind flummoxing head-trip for the rest of us.
Here’s the scene. Waifs in rive gauche leather and biker chic, t-shirted groupies and Smart Set regulars, all in a musty basement, sucking up unventilated second-hand smoke. You’re slumped up against the mixing desk, a victim of swirling lights and cheap piss. You’ve lost contact with your mates in the heaving throng of misanthropes swaying around you. You’ll either keep it together, or spend the night wilting in a cubicle, suffering the humiliation of being let out by the cleaner in the morning.
White Hills, unlike compatriots The Black Angels, are not gonna fuck with your head by playing long dirges or trippy interludes. They’re going to hold you together with some serious momentum. Loud, nasty, succinct rock 'n' roll. There’s no rainbow at the end of this set, just the stench of sweaty bodies and skunk, and the indifference of security directing you to the similarly fetid back-lane.
The music has not left you. Your short-term memory-buffer filled with growling, scuzzy guitar, squealing lead breaks, looping thunderous bass, and maybe just a bit of tinnitus feedback. You find your mates, and they’re all raving about how "fucking awesome" it was, like surviving some kind of musical hurricane.
With the exception of 'I, Nomad', this is the White Hills. 'I, Nomad' sounds like Brian Eno meeting Underworld, and is an aberration, not in keeping with the free-wheeling course of psych-rock elsewhere.
Like Jennifer Herrema’s Black Bananas venture last year, White Hills never try to be cool, they just are.