Dot Hacker – Inhibition


Band: Dot Hacker
Album: Inhibition
Label: Org Music
Rating: 8.75

I’m usually a bit leery about collaborative projects. Far too often, they end up being an overly-eclectic cacophony of styles, especially when the members’ signature sounds aren’t all of the same flavour, so to speak. There’s always the risk that you’ll have conflict instead of concord, and will end up wanting to take a drill to your eardrums in order to avoid hearing more than a few tracks. Fortunately, this was absolutely not the case with Inhibition: the debut offering from Dot Hacker that’s slated for release this May.

This band is one hell of a partnership, and considering the caliber of musicians who have teamed up for this project, it’s small surprise that the music works as well as it does here. With the combined talent of Josh Klinghoffer, Clint Walsh, Eric Gardner and Jonathan Hischke, Dot Hacker has a solid history of musical excellence, its members having toured with bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, PJ Harvey, and Butthole Surfers (just to name a few).

The record opens up with a track called “Order/Disorder”, and its layered guitars and vocals promise a great journey though the rest of the album. After listening to it in its entirety, you realise that wasn’t an empty promise at all. The third track on the album, “Eye Opener”, seems to be a hauntingly beautiful plea to be heard—melodic and lyrically poignant, wrapping around unexpected corners of sound and emotion.

Inhibition is rare in its duality, wherein the brave, explorative aspect of indie music blends with the polish and expertise that only comes from seasoned musicians who know exactly what they want and how to go about creating it. The only track in which I had any issues was track #6, “The Earth Beneath”: I found that in some parts of the song, the instruments and vocals battled for dominance, and neither came out the victor. It made the lyrics pretty much indecipherable, but at least the drum beat was brilliant. “Inhibition”, the track on the LP that gave the record its name, is so catchy and danceable that I was hard-pressed not to get up and writhe around the living room when I heard it. Should it ever be played at a club here in town, when I’m actually in attendance instead of being holed up at home in antisocial writing-land, I shall most certainly take full advantage of the opportunity to bop around to it.

I can hear echoes of Ampop in these tunes, along with traces of former indie darlings Les Six and The Drown on certain tracks. Now, I might be a bit biased in my love of this LP, seeing as how I have a fondness for dream-pop and doleful vocals, but it really is a great album. There’s an effortlessness here that can only come from a group of talented, confident musicians who know exactly what they’re doing, and aren’t stressing over the music they’re creating. In a world where insipid lyrics and cookie-cutter pop tartlets are the norm, this album is gorgeously refreshing and appreciated: an unexpected moment of vivid, startling beauty in the midst of grey mediocrity.

Lana Winter, 2012

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