Monday, August 25, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Waheela “HX Pop” (Cruel Nature Records)

                When I was in what I like to think of as my college years (I went to a technical school and studied web design, but never officially went to college as much as I studied on the streets of life), I went to see this band play inside a dorm and they were called Allison Ranger, one of my favorite bands at the time and still to this day even.   The show was to be a three band bill, and the band that played directly before them was called Morgan Storm.    Before that though, the first band… Yeah, I don’t remember their name—sorry.   But they did a lot of this inaudible screaming, where you felt like perhaps they were trying to say something but you weren’t entirely sure what.    That is how “HX Pop” begins and I love it, if only because I hardly ever hear it anymore (Geez, I had to reference a show that was probably late ‘90’s/early ‘00’s)

                Through the screaming there is this hardcore punk sense of rage.   On a commercial sense, when you think of a band like Rage Against the Machine, they had these brief moments in their songs where the music would speed up really heavily and vocalist Zach De La Rocha would just scream out of anger.  Imagine that fifteen or twenty second piece of a song turned into an entire song.

                After the first song on “HX Pop” though, Waheela takes a turn toward the indie rock/math rock side of things, as they break it down a little bit slower with some melodies and become instrumental.   It reminds me somehow of mewithoutYou only in the Old West.   Though, just as I managed to put in my notebook that it was slowing down and seemed less angry, as that vibe from the second song carried over briefly into the third, the screaming began again and took back the form of the first song, coming full circle. 

                Side X, which is the flipside because these are labeled “H” and “X” as opposed to “A” and “B” is really more of a combination of the sounds from the previous side.   The screaming which does remind me in other ways of The Dedication comes back but there is also that mewithoutYou musical quality backing it up, as it is not as fast paced but still in a groove.  

                I’m typically hesitant when listening to bands that can sound like mewithoutYou because I either feel like they too directly sound like that band or their time has simply passed, as I remember listening to mewithoutYou for the first time way too long ago.  Waheela makes it work though, and being a heavy and screaming sense you might not think cassette is the best way to hear this but they also have made that work for them as I wouldn’t want to hear this any other way.   Simply perfect.

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