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Kicker In Tow

Kicker In Tow

Like the cover art suggests (to me anyway), HangedUp plays working class chamber rock. They play the music for all those souls who keep the machines running and sometimes feel like a part of the machines themselves. When I hear Kicker In Tow play, I want to kick Giorgio Morodor in the butt and excise his cheesy score for the film Metropolis, then insert music by HangedUp, because I simply know that it would work better. It has that feel to it that lives and breathes, and while many (admittingly including myself) thought that the cello/percussive duo was a one-off project recording, they were wrong.

It's sort of like the argument that I've heard against Dirty Three in that you can only do so much with three instruments that all the recordings sound the same. I don't buy that statement, nor do I think that HangedUp are repeating themselves. After all, there's a lot you can say with one instrument, let alone two. If you heard their first, self-titled release, you'll know pretty much what to expect from the group, and they pretty much keep going at the same course here, with a few slight new wrinkles.

Like on their previous release, the duo races out of the gates early with one of their best tracks. On "Kinetic Work," the cello wails with a feverish intensity and the drumming is raw and pounding with distortion. Building to several peaks, the group then tapers things off for some breathing room before again laying it on heavily. At over 6 minutes, it runs a tad long, reiterating the same progressions several times, but keeps things rolling with plenty of punch. "Sink" takes things down several notches, following up with sad cello moans while filtered percussion clanks echo off in the background.

As on the last album, the group wisely keeps the tempos and feels of tracks pretty varied. "View From The Ground" starts out with a junkyard-dirty percussion section before rumbling into a hauntingly dark number with screechy cellos and a thumping rhythm. The short "Moment From The Motion Machine" follows it up with supreme minimalism, as a filtered bell rings out two lone notes over a quiet expanse. "No More Bad Future" mixes in a double kick drum beginning for an even more heavy (as in heavy metal) feel as it coils up for the first half before rocking out for the second (given an even more bottom heavy groove with additional bass by Harris Newman). Despite the talk above of different styles, the whole album still falls under sort of a claustrophobic umbrella in terms of overall sound. At times krauty, at times ambient, and at others downright rock, it's another 9 tracks and 45 minutes of music made for trying to keep pace with the machine.

Rating: 6.75