The Notorious Hi-Fi Killers - "Which Side Are You On?"
(Rocket Recordings 2008, LAUNCH 030, CD/LP)
From Aural Innovations #40 (September 2008)
Hi-fi is dead. Well, at least that's what the name of this UK band suggests, and indeed, The Notorious Hi-Fi Killers embrace the lo-fi aesthetic with not just enthusiasm, but with downright aggression. With their amps turned up to 11 and the distortion pedals on maximum overdrive, the band jumps and crunches through a number of punk influenced originals with titles such as Lost in the Modern World, Queen O' Fuck and Stars Explode, as well as a pretty decent cover of Freddie King's Going Down. This is not metal, mind you, but it is explosive, raw, energetic music, stripped of any fancy modern production, just basic, down n' dirty rock n' roll. The band does have some psychedelic/space rock aspirations though, too, as can be heard in the somewhat mellower She Plays With Light and Crystal Roses, and especially in the 16-minute opus, Near the Final Destination. Here the band stretches out, filling their sound with lots of loopy effects, shimmering guitar notes, druggy vocals and even some horns, sliding from a march-like mantra to a free jazz-like stew of swirling sonic craziness. It's a bit of a strange contrast to what has come before, but ends up being my favourite track on the album. Personally, I would have preferred to have heard more of the freakiness, less of the punk-like influences. Infusing their rockers with a bit of psychedelic weirdness, as they are obviously quite capable of (and interested in), would have made for a bit stronger album, in my opinion. Still, if you are tired of a lot of over-produced, slick rock like you hear so much of in the mainstream these days, The Notorious Hi-Fi Killers are a welcome breath of fresh air. I just hope they embrace their psychedelic side a little bit more on future releases.
For more information you can visit The Notorious Hi-Fi Killers web site at: http://www.hifikillers.co.uk
Visit their Myspace site at: http://www.myspace.com/hifikillers
Visit the Rocket Recordings web site at: http://www.rocketrecordings.com
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald