Aeons by Hoggs BisonRelease date: September 16, 2017
Label: Ingue Records
Bristol three-piece Hoggs Bison’s debut album Aeons brings together tracks from their 2016 EP (Dog Party Call) and single ‘Gold Jersey Top’ for a vinyl album of gently chilled instrumentals meandering between math and post-rock, issuing a polite request rather than a furious demand to be listened to.
Citing touchpoints from Cable through to Three Trapped Tigers the interplay between the clipped beats and a big, bold bass sound is where these influences come through most clearly. But Hoggs Bison has a more laid-back, though still highly controlled, element to their sound than many in this area of music. At no point across the album’s eight tracks is the melody in danger of getting away from the band, there is a clinical delivery softened by the warm sound, and just to make sure it’s all tied down tight many refrains repeat, repeat, repeat before the track moves on.
Opening with ‘Intro A-Go-Go’ the guitar line is sparse with the rhythm section doing much of the work to carry the track forward, in spite of its repeating melody. There’s a build toward the end, the track setting the scene well for what will follow on the rest of the record.
A trio of previously released tracks follows with ‘Olde Bogey’ leading with a film noir feel to the opening refrain, before falling again into a cyclical pattern, and a distant squall and scrape adding to the depth of the piece. ‘Gold Top Jersey’ brings the tempo up with the bass and guitar swooping and diving over and around the a sound more typically math rock. The side finishes with ‘Bob’s Secret Cache’ – a stand out of last year’s EP and more than holding its own among this bigger collection. Quiet melody, percussion higher in the mix, cinematic atmospherics creep in and the potential of this band is fleetingly glimpsed.
The flip side is loaded with tracks familiar to those who already know the band – ‘The Wrong Right’ breaks up over a military beat before a teasing refrain takes over; ‘Milk Milk Lemonade’ has a more insistent tone; and ‘Ague or Rheum’ shares the tone too, albeit a more jittery affair than elsewhere on the album.
Aeons closes with ‘Capaldice’, a track bringing together the best qualities of the other tracks. Bold and warm, intricate but not confusing, expansive in the down tempo and excitable in the fast. It forms the perfect end, relying less on the repeats within the track and yet leaving you wanting to replay the whole record.
Perhaps taking a side-swipe at the serious science of the search for the Higgs Boson, the God Particle, with the band’s name so too do they play a parallel, less intense, version of the artists who have undoubtedly cast an influence on their sound. Fans of Slint will find something to like here, so too those who like their post-rock with a more ambient vibe, with unassuming, slow-build instrumentals delivering highest rewards for those who return for repeat listens.