gig reviews

The Hysterical Injury - Our Lives are a Futuristic Nightmare

By Dave Urwin

Let me tell you a little story. Roughly a year ago one afternoon at a pub in Bath, about the second most recent time I had a drink incidentally, a Neanderthal man in a pub approached me and took exception to my purple top. I decided to walk away, and I’m glad that I did, but I spent the rest of the day becoming increasingly annoyed that he was allowed to get away with it. This annoyance dissipated into thin air that evening when I witnessed a storming live performance by a highly original band. That band was The Hysterical Injury. They reminded me that the world is not run by brainless whazzocks who can only communicate through intimidation and violence. There are forces beyond the comprehension of folk like the one I had the misfortune to encounter that day – music, love, laughter. Anyway, seeing as this band saved my day I would feel downright despicable if I ever felt compelled to write them a bad review. Therefore it’s lucky that ‘Our Lives are a Futuristic Nightmare’ is, in my oh so humble opinion, even better than their previous EP.

The last CD of theirs that I reviewed smouldered with terror, and this one certainly doesn’t bring to mind a picnic on a sunny day with a wizard in a psychedelic hat riding past on a bicycle, but in the past year they have received high praise from a number of radio personalities including Steve Lamacq and US radio station Church of Girl. The confidence and vigour that this must have instilled in them comes across in these songs. On ‘Snow’ the verses are entirely composed of hammer-ons and military breakbeats and for much of the final third they seem to be playing so frantically that they only have a couple of minutes to finish the song before the last bus of the evening leaves. I wish I’d had this to listen to on the Three Peaks challenge – I’d have charged up those mountains. ‘We Machines’ is perhaps the best thing they’ve recorded so far. Powered along by a post-punk riff that shifts texture every couple of bars and with vocals that alternate between a fractured howl and a soothing half-whisper, this is the sound of a band who mean business in the beautifully metaphorical sense of the phrase, rather than the cynical music ‘industry’ sense. ‘Labyrinth’ has echoes of Sonic Youth’s ‘Sunday’ for the first few bars but as soon as this comparison came to mind they were hurtling off in a new direction and had done so again quicker than I could say ‘Industrial Deerhoof.’

The bittersweet truth is that this music will not be for everyone. Many will have a facial expression akin to that in Edvard Munch’s ubiquitous ‘Scream’ painting upon listening, but many others will have a spring in their step for the rest of the day. I guess I should try and sum up what The Hysterical Injury do in one of those preposterous buzz-phrases you might see in NME magazine……er…….actually sod that, why not check them out for yourself? If you want to see something genuinely captivating then look no further.

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