Release date: June 10, 2017
Hypocrite, the follow-up to Hygiene’s 2016 demo, is a jarring, jangling record — and I love it. The record builds a dark, sneering, dingy vibe that speaks to the outsider in us all. “Let your freak flag fly,” it screams with spittle-flecked vehemence.
By adding a Korg synthesiser to an otherwise standard two-guitar, bass and drum formation, the band has added richness and depth to its sound. Joining the growing ranks of ‘Devo-core,’ Hygiene is a welcome addition to the Vancouver music scene.
In addition to the influence of bands like Uranium Club and Toyota, singer Kevin’s vocal delivery is, at times, reminiscent of the late, great Lux Interior of The Cramps. The songs’ subject matter also overlaps with those rockabilly greats — the line “Freak, freak, I’m a frickin’ freak” on ‘Hypocrite I,’ for example.
No long intros for Hygiene, the record bounces straight into life on ‘Hypocrite I’ with broken-glass guitars and a bouncing beat quickly followed by a healthy dose of Korg weirdness.
Contrary to the band’s name, the freaky, dirty (in the best way) feeling created with ‘Hypocrite I’ continues into the second track, ‘Void.’ The lyrics continue to be angsty and existential, e.g. “If I sing about how much I hate myself, no one will realise how boring I am.” It’s not revolutionary, but it fits the mood cultivated by the music.
That outsider mood builds to paranoia with ‘Hypocrite II,’ which has Kevin screaming “I know whose side you’re really on.” In fact, these feel less like individual tracks and more like different movements in one longer piece of music. The frenzy of noise builds to a climax before dropping briefly to a slower, reflective interlude.
The final song of the record, ‘Parasite,’ is probably the most different to the other tracks. Guitars and vocals growl menacingly, in contrast to the maniacal scream of the preceding three tracks.
All-in-all, it’s a great release. Hygiene takes a variety of influences and sticks them together in a creative way. This release is already a noticeable improvement from last year’s Soylent Clean, so I am excited to see what they do next.
My one criticism of Hypocrite? It’s too short! The whole thing comes in at less than 12 minutes long. Here’s looking forward to Hygiene’s next release.
Hypocrite by Hygiene was released on June 10, 2017, on Jaundice Records — the work of Hygiene bassist Jon. Stream/download/order the cassette on Bandcamp.