Review of The Hickey Underworld Album by The Hickey Underworld

In a country not exactly famous for its huge rock music scene, since Millionaire have gone quiet and Deus are past their best, it's looking like Belgian rock is all but dead in the water. Step forward The Hickey Underworld, creators of this loud and messy (essentially what your Dad would call a 'racket') eponymous album.

The Hickey Underworld The Hickey Underworld Album

They've been likened to The Mars Volta, but as they are now, The Hickey Underworld remind me more of their forefathers, At The Drive-In. Their early career held some flashes of brilliance but they also had a tendency to slop all over the place as well, which perfectly sums up their first outing. There's just so many ideas flying around, the distorted guitars of 'Zero Hour' and 'Sick of Boys' have tinges of Millionaire/QOTSA - but then again 'Zorayada' sounds like a bastardized Blondie. Altogether strange.

Anyway it seems that again like their post-hardcore leanings, The Hickey Underworld fare best when they're sitting on a bit of righteous anger, best illustrated by the epic 'Of Asteroids and Men/Plus Added Wizardry.' This is the longest track on the album by some way, definitely the most ambitious and when the breakdown comes, 4 minutes in, it's a short snapshot of what they could be if they unleashed their dark side.

You could cautiously pin your hopes on The Hickey Underworld. It's a funny, mixed-up puzzle of an album spilling with flaws and ideas. It's not perfect but it's got some catchy songs and an endearingly rough appeal, just hope that they learn to mismanage their anger.

Natalie Kaye

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