Hookworms – Microshift

Microshift utilises Hookworms' propensity for psychedelia and takes it somewhere new, resulting in their most accessible record to date

Album Review by Hayley Scott | 29 Jan 2018
Album title: Microshift
Artist: Hookworms
Label: Domino
Release date: 2 Feb

Much like Hookworms' previous  albums, Microshift specialises in a cathartic approach to psychedelia and punk: their music focuses on the juxtaposition between light and dark; the ever-present quest for happiness amidst gnawing desolation. Those nuances create something very human: the idea that the most basic emotions – such as happiness – can sometimes feel unattainable. Yet the opportunities are always there, lingering in the distance.

The Leeds quintet are still dealing with existential themes – you can sense the pain and deprivation in singer MJ's voice – yet it's a little less strained here. The faint glimmer of hope that underpinned previous LPs is less inconspicuous and more of a prominent theme. See opener Negative Space for conviction: 'I still hear you every time I'm down' sings MJ – lyrically introspective, the music is upbeat and denotes hope. Similarly, the album's weighty lyrical themes – from body image to depression and loss – is at odds with its musical optimism.

Microshift utilises the band's propensity for psychedelia and takes it somewhere new: it's the band's most accessible record to date, but the subtle electronic idiosyncrasies keep it interesting. Immersive and lyrically heavy, but not without radiancy and light, Hookworms' ability to turn desperation into euphoria is a quality that makes this album a liberating, often healing, experience.

Listen to: Static Resistance, Negative Space, Ullswater