Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups by Some Became Hollow TubesRelease date: April 22, 2022
Label: Ripcord Records
One of the biggest issues going into listening to an entity like Some Became Hollow Tubes is whether their pedigree helps or hinders them. Formed by the fusion of Aidan Girt and Eric Quach, it almost feels like the child of two overly-qualified and impossibly attractive academics, something gifted such exquisite musical genetics that it can’t help but work; then again, there’s always a creeping sensation that it will be overshadowed by its progenitors. Thankfully, Some Became Hollow Tubes have sidestepped the issue by delivering works like Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups, an incendiary and energetic work that captures both Quach’s exacting precision for creating unsettling but all-too-natural soundscapes and Girt’s turbulent energy but exists in its own pocket universe.
In case the title doesn’t give it away, ‘All I Can Think Of Is The Earth On Fire And The Smoky Skies’ is both as gloomy, and as lengthy, as could be expected. Much of its build-up relies entirely on spectral drones being teased out of smog and murk, lingering and swirling until the atmosphere becomes unbearably claustrophobic. As more familiar instruments ease their way in, the faint spectre of guitar chiming out a brittle melody or a clatter of cymbal bristling like thunder, it adds a touch of menace; only after 5 minutes does Girt really begin to demonstrate the momentum he’s been building up and from that point on, ‘All I Can Think…’ is all about organised chaos. It feels haphazard at points but there’s a streak of conscious purpose that keeps it flowing through crippling lows and spiralling highs. Thanks to tight, metronomic percussion and burst of searing, distorted fury it’s captivating enough to never lose the listener’s attention, even for a moment.
Originally composed as a compilation track and only lasting as long as it took its predecessor to get going, ‘No One Is OK’ should feel like an outlier but it’s only as weird as its brethren. To put it simply, this is as doom as Some Became Hollow Tubes are willing to get, and from Girt’s non-stop rolls and fills to Quach cranking up the volume, fuzz and reverb until the very structure of the song is dangerously close to collapsing down to its component molecules, it sounds massive. There’s a psychedelic underbelly that frequently to the surface and amidst the roiling chaos, it leaves an unsettling mark.
Throughout Unhealthy…, there has been a sense of growing clarity, of smoke clearing to reveal something concrete and towering amidst the haze. Looking at it through that lens, it makes sense that the mammoth closer ‘My Eyes Are Itchy And I Can Barely Breathe’ has the duo operating at their most rigid and dynamic. Beginning from a now-familiar build-up of fluid drones and tightly-wound drums, it rapidly ascends into prime krautrock territory, suspending energetic, rolling fills that never repeat, only become more audacious, on clouds of sooty, distorted bliss. Though Some Became Hollow Tubes work with components that come from the heavier side of the sonic world, there’s always something beautiful or at least mesmerising at work, and this is no exception. It feels like watching a volcano erupt in slow motion, a display of power in motion, and stretched out across 18 minutes, it has the loosely-bound energy of any good jam session.
There’s a description of Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups that states it is “Two new long tracks that have been hanging around for too long + clearing out old sessions + moving along + making space for brand new jams” and it’s telling that even as they are simply doing some spring cleaning, Some Became Hollow Tubes can’t help but make sprawling, cohesive jams that inspire awe and wonder. Whether you are fans of previous works or simply looking for a noisily beautiful way to take yourself out of day-to-day monotony, this record is guaranteed to impress.