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Published: 2010/03/01
by Randy Ray

White Hills
White Hills

Thrill Jockey

The New York trio White Hills neither seduce nor ignore the listener over the seven tracks of their eponymous release. Instead, the songs curl up and rage, lunging outwards towards whacked-out space, primal and dangerous. Or, alternately, sensitive and oh-so-weird.

Chaos forms, dissipates, and begins anew (“Dead”) and faders jam left and right, with persnickety flourishes scraping the skull, folding back in to the mind, walking along the edge, and asking questions—is this life? Does it end there? (“Counting Sevens”). Chords bespeak thousands of long dead languages, but the crunch, the singular might of a lone statement, fights its way to the surface and survives (the headbanging masterstroke “Three Quarters”). Elsewhere, White Hills covers the gloom in ancient talismans, bells, whispering voices, and ghosts from afar, circling the darkened block with vampiresque children, still locked within innocence’s grasp, but old, very old, like the almost pastoral, Pink Floydish majesty of “Let the Right One In,” its title somewhat of a strange nod to the Swedish vampire flick.

The drifting, lost vibe continues its voyage, and—on “We Will Rise”— transforms into another apocalyptic meltdown with more textures which appear tethered to intergalactic explorations, rather than earthbound desires. On “Glacial,” the cosmic arc of a celestial afterglow implodes and races, albeit slowly, towards another false dawn, creeps under the surface, and appears to embrace the shadows, ignoring the light. Chris Carlone accompanies White Hills—Dave W., guitar, synths, and vocals, Ego Sensation, bass and vocals, and Kid Millions, drums, with Pierre Auntour on synths on two tracks—on the closing track (“Polvere di Stelle”), which seems an almost a rare dose of accessible oblivion on an album that is worth every second of its sometimes difficult dissonance during a journey that loops through space and time on a quest for nothing in particular, but finding occasional moments of transcendent bliss, nonetheless.

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