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Ho-Ag
The Word From Pluto
Hello Sir Records
www.hellosirrecords.com


Right from the get-go I know I am listening to something different. Ho-Ag seamlessly fuses an art-punk sound to a funk jazz math rock to create an immense beast that treads heavy but is inherently beautiful. Sounding like a hybrid of Devo's moog, The Hives' intensity/panache', and The Black Eyes' epileptic take on songwriting, Ho-Ag comes off as creative and original. What impresses me the most about this band are their no-holds-barred attacks on music and convention that contradict themselves by being enjoyable and accessible. Think about it for a second - that's a very hard line to walk - but they succeed with flying colors. Moreover, they manage to fit in so many sly side-references to other genres and bands that, taken as a whole, the album is smarter than any I could think of off the top of my head.

Production has a hard time reining in the influences and styles such that The Word From Pluto takes on a slightly uneven nature. There is so much going on that it just may prove to be an impossibility to give each song the time it deserves. This translates to inventive songs like "Man The Dam" not getting the fine tuning that "Under The Maps" got, because it may not be as commercially viable.

The band itself is beyond talented, bringing a savvy nuance to hammer heavy sections and a precise authority to the calmer passages. Guitars drive the change of the music, throwing so many twists and turns into the melee that it becomes daunting, yet they somehow manage to converge into copasetic harmony lines that feel like epiphanies. Bass holds its own; weaving a solid backbone throughout and occasionally giving a remarkable lead line. Drums are my favorite, although they could drive the faster sections more, they accurately define boundaries of the rest while disappearing completely here and leading counter-intuitive but brilliant lines there. The vocals stick to a uniform pattern but give and take nicely with the ebb and flow of each song. The keyboards may be the most overlooked, but they add such good ambiance that I couldn't imagine this album without them.

While this band may not be for everyone, it is a must have for the rest of us. Especially if you like different, and moreover, different done well.

-bishop

Track listing:
1) Print The Navy
2) Under The Maps
3) Lemon Juice On Vinegar
4) TDPK
5) Stay Home Tonight
6) American Mall
7) Tank War Europa
8) Pinhead
9) The Straight Shaker
10) Man The Dam
11) Into The River
12) The World's Fair
13) Get Peeled
14) The Hoodoo Sea


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