ILLLS – Hideout From the Feeders

Fowler calls ILLLS’ latest effort “earnestly home-recorded manic guitar pop lost in a cave.”

Lee Fowler

out of 10

Hideout From the Feeders
November 12, 2013
Aloe Music

Some of the best records sound urgent. Highway 61 Revisited. Appetite for Destruction. Nevermind. Loveless. As soon as you put the needle down, there’s an explosion from your speakers and you can’t turn away. In their first full length with Steven Ross as the sole songwriter, ILLLS has created one of those urgent records. Punk lost its urgency in post-punk, but ILLLS picks it back up again, combining the cavernous sonics of 1980s with the loudness of noise pop.

To coin a new phrase, constraint is the mother of invention. While bands often distract themselves with every didgeridoo and clavichord they can coax a passable note out of, ILLLS commits to a conservative collection of tortured drums, guitars (both meaty and ethereal), some eerie keyboards, a rubbery bass, and echoing vocals. Instruments compete for space in the mix, all pushing upwards, in and out of the mix with the conviction of their importance. See what you can do with what you got, and ILLLS does just that. With urgency. It’s not just love lost and regained. It’s not just a lonely curb under a streetlight in the middle of the night. It’s those things played in a noisy, sweaty fever.

And, of course, it’s hard not to associate ILLLS home town of Oxford, Mississippi with William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County. The songs on “Hideout From the Feeders” exist in the same atmosphere of their geographic origin and in its mythological counterpart. Post-punk meets the dark and oppressive South. There are some great optimistic melodies, true, especially in the first two tracks, “Our Shadow” and “Out,” but they are lost in the echoing murk of thick treated guitars and amplified whispered vocals. “Interlude” provides a brief and optimistic Psychocandy-ish reprieve before “In Gray” returns with the same elements that make the album so consistent and effective throughout. What might have passed for lovelorn jangle gets lost in the thick, loud darkness of midnight in Mississippi.

No clever tricks here, just earnestly home-recorded manic guitar pop lost in a cave. So you might as well bring a torch.

-Lee Fowler, December 9, 2013
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