If we’re being honest, most of the ’90s should be stricken from the record with one of those Men In Black memory removal devices… including Men in Black. Cross Colors, Hypercolor, Chumbawamba and the Bronson Pinchot/Jonathon Lipnicki vehicle, Meego? Just a few of the endless cultural failures we were forced to endure.
What we can be proud of however, is the guitar rock that defined indie rock and college radio. Our anthems were gritty, loud, heartfelt and songs that sounded fantastic 20 years ago still sound great today. More importantly, unlike most time capsule revisits, bands sampling from the slacker rock catalog can build on what their heroes created without sounding like some dated rehash.
Case in point? Hermetic. This Vancouver two-piece hits hard with baritone guitar and thumping percussion and even though it could be slid into any ’90s music guy’s record collection, it still sounds fresh.
The debut LP, Civilized City, is a big sounding collection of straight ahead jams. The drums on “Preventative Arrest” are like a body shot combination that could drop King Hippo and the fuzz and soaring “ahhhs” on the title track explode through your headphones. If you like guitars, you will like huge fuzzy joints like “Sunday Best” and propulsive numbers like “Curmudgeons Club”, but there’s more at play here.
Hermetic understands how to make minor chords dance in spiky, stalactite-like melodies and how nice harmonies offset sing/sung vocals, but the band offers up some nice surprises and interesting textures to give the record much needed diversity. Harmonica gives the droning “Malingering” a roots feel, the strings that soften “Portlandish” and transform “You Can’t Go Home Again”, and pop feel of “Nixon Song” are the change in pace that lets you catch your breath and refresh the listen.
Look, we are all waiting for the release of the new record from another huge sounding Vancouver two-piece, but don’t miss out on this hidden gem while you pine about french kissing some french girls. Grab it now, and chip in 2 extra bucks to get the vinyl.
MP3:: Hermetic - Sunday Best