"Total Bugs Bunny on Wild Bass" CDEP
Genres: experimental rock
New York City, NY
Dec 15 - 21 2003
will scratch your head raw for the album's entire duration.
Is there melody here?
You will be confused. You will try your best to understand
what's going on but it won't be obvious. Hella play with
such energy, such experimental excitement, that it's often easy to
miss what makes their music so listenable. Buried deep within
the obscenely fast-paced beats and the bizarre electronic
accompaniment are moments of pure accessibility. Wicked-cool
accessibility. And the fact that it's all done by two guys - a
drummer and a guitarist/computer wizard - just ices the cake.
You gotta dig it.
But before you run to the stores in a panicked must-buy frenzy,
I'll warn you: Hella isn't for everyone. You need an open
mind to appreciate what these two guys are doing. Tracks like "Electric Guitar" and "Your
DJ Children," perhaps two of the most accessible moments on this
album, roll by at a mile a minute, pumped to the max with rhythmic
urgency - but their melodies aren't as obvious as they could
be. As a result, it takes a couple more listens than usual for
the songs to sink in; alternatively, they also stay fresh for longer
than most songs do. It's a trade-off.
The best moment on this album is, without doubt, the last song -
"Who Ray" - wherein a repeated guitar melody is laid over
spastic drumming and remarkably effective electronic
accompaniment. It's an inventive piece of music that manages to
be experimental without compromising accessibility.
As a bonus, the disc also includes a three minute live video of
"Brown Metal" that can be viewed on your computer. The
band plays passionately, awkwardly stuffed into the corner of a room, while an oddly
subdued audience watches on in awe. It's far from theatrical,
and yet they still make it into an amazing performance.
Hella is one of the most original new bands around.
They live in an aura of hipness and yet avoid pretentiousness and
superiority. Total Bugs Bunny... is worth it for the
"Brown Metal" video, but look at how much else you get as
[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by Ad
Noiseam and Soleilmoon, released 2003]