New Music China: Hedgehog – Sound of Life Towards

After switching allegiances from Modern Sky to Ruby Eye Records for this, their first album in four years, Hedgehog have attracted a tonne of attention in this year of the {Dog} fantastic Chinese music.

2018 could be a year full of returning legends, as Snapline, AV Okubo and PK14 are also both stated to release albums by the end of the year, whilst Carsick Cars’ Zhang Shouwang is also returning with a whole new project alongside Chui Wan’s Yan Yulong, the avant garde label, Maybe Noise, which launched today in Magnet Theater, Beijing.

Rumours have been adrift that this may be the D22 legends final album – and while thematically that makes sense (while also being nonsensical) – it would be an awful shame to be deprived the privilege of another album from a band at the top of their game.

There’s a lot to digest on this album, such as the wealth of influences that have gone into making these 11 tracks. 21st Century, When We Were Still Young is a totally satisfying punk number packed with buzzcut guitars. Beneath the immediately guitar driven sound is something softer, something reminiscent of modern jangle rock coming out of the US, a la Real Estate or Deerhunter.

That Jangle is more apparent on Longing for the Warm Spring as the bass is given more prominent positioning at the front of the music. Admittedly, I don’t know Hedgehog all that well, I hadn’t even stepped foot, or considered the notion of stepping foot, in China when they were at the height of their fame. Nonetheless, this album gives me an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.

Perhaps it is all the talk of Spring and rejuvenation, maybe it is the sound of the previously mentioned bands, Deerhunter and Real Estate, which played a large part in my springs of yore, but I suspect that it was their intention to go headfirst into emotion and memory with this record – something that bolsters the idea that they may soon call it quits.

Meng Ba La Na Xi is a real tearjerker, sung beautifully by drummer Atom about her daughter and their southward sojourns to Yunnan and possibly the standout track on this fantastic album.

Beyond this heartrending opening troika of tracks, We Are Animals, Opium, Money is Everything and Kill Rock Stars reinstate a fun, funky, punky atmosphere. Such quirky features as cowbell, chunky, nutty guitar lines and leaping vocal inputs from Atom sweep away all nostalgia.

The final four songs on the album combine the two moods of what went before, as hard riffs and trailing nostalgia combine to create an album that is excellently packaged, produced and which sounds utterly fantastic.

 


 

Record Label – Ruby Eye Records

Release Date – April 25, 2018

Bandcamp URL – https://hedgehogrock.bandcamp.com/

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: