I’ve been trying to write a review of this album for a while, but it’s such a freaked-out behemoth it’s hard to know where to start. It’s also a record that’s going to polarize opinion and is likely to lead to much discussion at Rock Club Towers, like the Swans album did last year. For a start, it’s difficult to categorize into a single genre – if there was such a thing as space-garage-pyscho-prog-rebel-rock then this would fit perfectly into its pigeonhole.
‘The Condition of Nothing’ starts the album with a full on blast of noise – a great rocking sound, brilliant guitar solo, some squelchy keyboard effects and some great dual vocals. Pretty much all you could need from a 6 minute opening track. The track ends abruptly when ‘Movement Starts’, which is a 2 and a half minute interlude of choppy, clanking guitar sounds, ending with a keyboard noise that is clearly achieved when you press the button marked ‘throbbing’.
Next up is ‘No Other Way’ – at 10 minutes 39 seconds long, this is still only the third longest track on the album. It’s a medium paced instrumental track that starts off with a bass riff and gradually builds and builds. Guitars are layered on, followed by keyboards to create a woozy atmosphere that slowly hypnotizes you before fading away.
‘Paradise’ ups the tempo (and the song length), with a driving drumbeat powering the song along. Headspin-inducing space effects play out over the insistent backing track. The track doesn’t particularly develop, but rather keeps taking slight detours before arriving back on the original path.
‘Upon Arrival’ is much more interesting – distorted vocals over a backing track worthy of Iggy & The Stooges. Definitely one of the album’s highlights, it rushes along with raw energy, and every instrument seems to be straining at the leash – the guitar solos are especially brilliant on here. The track disappears into a space void at the end, to be replaced by the atmospheric and droning keyboards on ‘A Need To Know’, which then morphs into ‘Hand In Hand’, which is the sound of an interstellar distress single being received via a set of Marshall stack amplifiers.
'Monument' kicks in with tribal drums, and continues with 6 minutes of burbling, fizzing noises which are occasionally enlightened by some melodic piano. That just leaves us with the epic title track ‘H-p1’ to deal with. I don’t know much about Hawkwind but that’s what first came to mind when the track just came on. The guitars on this track are menacingly brilliant – like a gang of black-shirted neo-fascists they march at you, forcing you to join in or be trampled underfoot as they pass by. After 4 minutes of vocals and a couple of guitar solos the track takes a turn into Pink Floyd territory, as all 17 minute-long tracks should do. Then the guitars storm back in for the start of a mammoth squalling solo. The track ends with more space noises and a feeling that this record is probably already number one on Mars.
I’m sure this review would’ve been a lot easier to write if I had taken something illicit before I started – at least then I might have had an excuse for some of the stuff I’d written above which, if you haven’t heard the album (and probably even if you have) sounds like I’m going slightly mad.. In my defense all I can say is that I’m moving to the White Hills to live up a tree. I'll see you there.
Visit our messageboards to comment on this review, read others, add your own reviews, or share a new act that you've discovered