Music » Livewire


With Out Hud and Lives of the Saints. Tuesday, April 12, at the Grog Shop.


With Church Gone Wild/Chirpin Hard, Hella becomes the latest outcast duo to package concurrent solo discs as a double album. Drummer Zach Hill's difficult-to-digest Church punishes parishioners with maddeningly redundant rhythms, oppressive feedback swarms, and violently distorted vocals, but its most inspired moments reward the faithful. "Half Hour Handshake," with its jingly melody weaving through clattering chaos, sounds like an ice-cream truck cruising through the middle of an aerial assault. "Earth's First Evening Jimi Hendrix-less and Pissed" pairs parochial piano and an angelic choir with buckshot blast-beats.

Guitarist Spencer Seim's Chirpin Hard shares some stylistic territory with Church, including erratic percussion and the type of sci-fi sound effects that usually accompany dramatic warp-speed escape scenes. However, Seim's tunes are relentlessly catchy, with only brief static-smothered passages. His Nintendo-powered noodling turns the pulsing title track into a superior soundtrack for any Mario or Mega Man vehicle, but Chirpin Hard also welds crackling rock riffs to its upbeat hooks. This collection conveniently categorizes Hella's experimental instrumentals, making it simple for fans to decide between challenging racket and easy-going robotic rave-ups.

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