Stylistically, I think Tripper is an exciting return to Hella’s old, stripped down form. Some fans may see it as a bit of a regression, but that’s only half of the truth. The duo throws in some overdubbed guitars and bass, and manages to utilize some of the tricks they’ve learned working in various side-projects since the release of 2007′s There’s No 666 In Outer Space. There are moments on here where I actually feel could have made it onto a Zach Hill solo album.
The downside is, though I do think Hella is sounding pretty fierce on this album, the songs are filtered through a pretty weak recording. The guitars and drums sound tinny, flat, and claustrophobic. It’s hardly the range of lows and highs I’d want in order to appreciate the intricate, detailed performances laced into this album.
Despite that unforgettable pothole, I like a good chunk of the tracks on here. I can’t say I hated any, but I was left feeling like this was just another Hella record in some spots. However, I wouldn’t want to hear anybody make a Hella record but Hella.
Back to duo status, California’s Hella recently dropped its fifth album, Tripper. The band has allowed fans to stream the album on Bandcamp, which is a nice trend I’m seeing with all new Zach Hill-releated projects. Of course, I hope this give people an incentive to actually buy the release if they like it. Stream, stream, stream above.
Earlier in the month, California math rock group Hella announced that they would be returning with a new album. On their last LP, 2007′s There’s No 666 In Outer Space, the group boasted five members in their lineup. For the new album, entitled Tripper, they’re back to being a drum and guitar duo consisting of founding members Zach Hill and Spencer Heim.
On “Headless,” the opening track from the new album, the instrumental rawness that characterized earlier Hella releases really comes through. The drums take the lead for the majority of the song, while Heim’s technically proficient guitar riffs provide the rhythmic background for Hill’s wildly experimental fills. The song changes in tone towards the end with some surprisingly uplifting guitar riffing.
Based on the promise of this track, it will be interesting to see how the band has adapted back to playing in the duo format on the rest of the album. Tripper will be out August 30th on Sargent House.