Once you come across HMLTD you will not be able to shake them.
Picking up from the legends of Post-Punk: Devo, Pere Ubu, Cabaret Voltaire, Gang of Four to name but a few, HMLTD are worthy of carrying their flag because like all of those mentioned prior they push the envelope with all that they do. This is clear once you both listen to them and see the band.
Is This What You Wanted? has a hell of a groove to it with the electronic drum beat, the simple but irresistible guitar and bass lines that gel so effortlessly. In the first couple of lines spoken to us are the words ‘Triggered by your cold diatribe’ this is interesting because when the same opening verse comes back around it turns into a diatribe. With the vocals becoming shouts and anger being directed into the microphone. At the point that the anger comes though the music follows its lead getting tenser and tenser but it then dies down, the guitar and bass are relived of their duties and just the vocals and beat remain. Right until the end when everything speeds up and stops abruptly.
Satan, Louella and I is a little more traditional in its structure but it is no less as dramatic or gripping as Is This What You Wanted? or any other of the tracks listed here. Helped by the choral addition of a few female voices which adds to the creepy vibe of Satan, Louella and I. As it opens with a guitar line that would fit straight into a horror scene where the monster is stalking its prey without the prey realising. But that dissipates into the steady build of energy with blasts of horns, notes of piano, leading into a pulsating mark around 2:26 where the vocals become more driven, with some very nice inflections exclaiming that not everything is clear i.e. ‘Not every church is strong, Not every city’s wrong, No struggle is in vain’ (backed by a vocal melody you would hear in a church choir) these are some powerful statements that points out that some truths, assumptions and institutions are not as concrete as they seem. Adding more depth to the HMLTD’s overall appeal.
Music! is a somewhat glitchy affair with dark lyrics wanting to travel to the North Sea for a myriad of reasons, the odd lonesome sounding keyboard that plays in the interlude only adds to the oddness. Then it rises again before lulling into a slow abstract glitch to close. You are unable to guess where anything will go and that in itself is a reason to check them out.
To The Door mixes cowboy, wild western guitar and attitude with modern electro theatre. Here the vocals as ever have a sharpness to them delivered with menace, arguably aimed at the vote to leave the European Union, ‘But the streets are lined with Filth, The scum will rise to the top, In glass buildings they throw rocks, So I’m moving to Leipzig’. But that us just my take on it I could be completely misinterpreting it. The unexpected shift in styles slowing the track down but not taking away any of the impact. With To the Door being a top song it also is a great summary of HMLTD.
To say that HMLTD are this genre or that genre would be disrespectful to the band. But what is undeniable is that they are a violent force of creative freedom that is a most welcome revival of Post-Punk striking against the mundane stagnant mainstream.