Just because we’re six feet under doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.
Full Time Hobby, 2013
7.3 / 10
There’s not a lot of straight answers surrounding Hooded Fang’s latest album, Gravez. Singer/producer Dan Lee has said that the title “may refer to the impending lurk of death”, but the grim reaper seems far removed from the textural punky pop gems collected on Gravez. Lee is joined by the new Hooded Fang lineup of April Aliermo (bass), Lane Halley (guitar), and D. Alex Meeks (drums); recording the new album for the first time together in a studio. If you subtract the album’s bookending instrumentals, Gravez consists of eight songs balancing Segall-style warmth with the aggressive bombardment of FIDLAR. It reaches a middle ground of accessible songs enjoyable to even the toughest critics of garage pop.
Aliermo’s snarling bass opens the album’s first true song, “Graves”, before breaking into a mad dash scramble that serves as a nice introduction to Hooded Fang’s new formation. Lee’s paranoid lyrics — “So many faces and they’re all the same/ Why you lookin’ at me?” — don’t halt the song’s pop progression into his “baa…baa…baa” harmony. Lee possesses an endearing slacker charm, delivering his vocals in what I can only describe as a slothful cheeriness. This is best heard on “Ode to Subterrania” where Lee complains of living in a basement. Once again Aliermo’s bass plays a nice part, almost mimicking pounding footsteps overhead Lee’s basement living quarters, telling him to keep down the racket.
And believe me, there’s plenty of racket on Gravez. “Sailer Ball” recalls the spit-whiskey-in-your-face intensity of FIDLAR and vine swinging Tarzan vocals from Lee. “Wasteland” delves into rock’s history, best likened to a ’50s torch song only with more bass and guitar jangle. As tough as Hooded Fang get, Dan Lee never forgoes the band’s pop aesthetic, even maintaining it during the suicidal fantasies expressed in “Never Minding”. It’s a nice contrast to the heavier material. Go ahead and bury yourself in good times with Gravez.
Purchase: Hooded Fang – Gravez