HIGH DEPENDENCY UNIT
(Shoot the Freak/Border)
Rating: * * * *
Verdict: You may need a stint in the HDU after first album in seven years
No band whips up a swirl of sonic bedlam like HDU and in their 13-year history they have always had a fragile and tranquil side to them. On fifth album Metamathics, these two distinct sides come together from the start as the raw guitar spikes and bass dirge of Stupormodel gives way to the stunning poise of second track Grace.
The New Zealand trio, made up of drummer Dino Karlis, singer/guitarist Tristan Dingemans and bass player Neil Phillips, took a break following 2001's Fireworks. In 2006 they resurfaced with soaring beauty Tunguska.
Stupormodel appeared on last year's split seven-inch with Die!Die!Die!, and both tracks are highlights on Metamathics.
At only nine songs it might seem lazy, but bear in mind The National Grid clocks in at 13 beautiful, brittle and sprawling minutes. That track, with its eerie saxophone squeals, is more like sound exploration than a song and it's something they've touched on in past recordings but never as intently as this.
Then with Irma Vep we're propelled into a mangled groove with psychedelic helicopters hovering around, and to finish its back to tranquility for Wish We Were Here.
This is a journey from bedlam to bliss and back again.