I feel there’s a great album in here, but a few key ingredients are missing.
Fullerton garage punks Audacity have been a band since 2001. Despite their longevity, Hyper Vessels (now available over at Suicide Squeeze Records) is only album number four for these long running noise makers. They still remain young at heart, which both works for and against them, struggling to stand out amidst the current trend of garage-rock revival bands. Opener “Counting The Days” gets things off to a great start. Reminiscent of The Hives singalong intensity, it’s catchy and rambunctious, a delicious slice of sing-along punk rock. But when the next two cuts “Not Like You” and “Riot Train” repeat the same formula to diminishing returns, the album’s flaws begin to emerge. The songs are relatively formulaic, and the production makes it hard for them to define their own sound; it’s very reminiscent of Bass Drum of Death’s lo-fi, ultra-compressed tone, but these tracks are begging for a louder, aggressive tone.
When Audacity change things up on “Umbrellas”, a slow, synth-filled jam to crappy hometowns, it’s something new that hits the mark. Compositionally, it could be a Kinks song, but the lo-fi production does work in its favour here, letting the vocals and drums propel this slower track to higher levels of intensity. Conversely, “Baseball” has a bouncing, plodding bass riff, whereas the buzzsaw guitars punch through sporadically. And “Dirty Boy” is just evil. Energetic, with lots of synchronised guitar, vocal, and drum stabs, it’s also got a middle eight that feels like it’s pulled right out of a rockabilly song, and crams a lot of ideas into its short runtime without feeling bloated.
Unfortunately, the album sags after this run of solid cuts; for all the interesting, and tight tracks like “Fire” and “Overrated”, songs like “Hypo” and “Awake” feel forgettable, retreading the same ideas as earlier tracks. The pacing is off, with “Previous Cast” popping up only to slow the band down again into another ’60s garage psych-sound, deflating the album when my attention is beginning to wane. At least album closer “Lock On The Door” is solid and strong, sounding like a garage version of The Clash’s “Train In Vain” with its bass and drum intro providing a solid foundation for some experimental guitar histrionics, and clocking out relatively early; I just wish the rest of the album followed this creativity and pacing.
Even though most songs clock in at just over two minutes, this is still a twelve track long album that has serious pacing issues. I feel there’s a great album in here, but a few key ingredients are missing. With more input from a producer, and a willingness to experiment with a few different tonal styles, or by cutting out a few of the songs that disrupt the album’s ferocious pace, Audacity could have really made Hyper Vessels stand out, but there’s a lot of flab that slows this album down and leads it limping to the finish.
Upcoming tour dates:
27th – Barcelona – Almo2bar
28th – Madrid GetMAD! Festival
1st – Oslo – Revolver
2nd – Stockholm – Fritz’s Corner @ Lilla Hotellbaren
3rd – Gothenburg – Klubb Slacker @ Pustervik
4th – Malmo – Psych Fest @ Plan B
6th – Lyon – Épicerie Moderne w/ Ty Segall
7th – Ravenna – Beaches Brew Festival
8th – Villimpenta – Parco Giochi
10th – Brussels – Madame Moustache
11th – Eindhoven – Psych Lab Festival
15th – Hamburg – Knust w/ Ty Segall
16th – Groningen – Vera
17th – Amsterdam – Black Eye Club @ Oedipus Brewery
18th – Hilvarenbeek – Best Kept Secret
20th – Paris – Mecanique Ondulatoire
21st – London – The Shacklewell Arms
22nd – Brighton – Green Door Store
23rd – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
24th – Glasgow – The Hug & Pint
25th – Manchester – Fallow Cafe