Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A little over two years ago this duo “impressed” (not always a positive term) me as noise-for-noise’s-sake flailers who had some frenzied magic locked deep within, but who then buried it under two tons of meaningless feedback and distortion. And as a guy who loves feedback and distortion as a general rule, it really hurt to cut these fellas down a peg. But this new one from THE HOSPITALS is a step in the right direction. “Jocks and Jazz” is a bit of a mess, but at times they sound like they’re attempting to cut ribbons around some berserk HC-inspired noise squawker like HARRY PUSSY’s “Fuckology” and mash it up with a plodding shambler like THE FALL’s “Deer Park” or “Winter”. Not bad! You know who else they sound like? Seattle’s INTELLIGENCE, that’s who, except The Intelligence lean far less heavily on wild echoes, uneven dirges and tape-manipulated cut-ups. The Hospitals aren’t exactly rockin’ – and make more sense on a label like Load than on In The Red, where they previously logged time – but there are moments where their sound just revs up, spreads out and roars. I think I’ll go see ‘em next time they visit.