Indie synthpop made for shoegaze rockers.
Although I’m not intimately familiar with Hundredth’s back catalogue, they are a band that switch sound and genres constantly. From hardcore rock to shoegaze and dream pop, they’ve leapt across genres playfully and with ‘Somewhere Nowhere’, they arrive on the indie-pop / synthpop cross-section. Neither fully one nor the other, the album is a larger than life explosion of indie-pop with rock sensibilities hidden underneath.
The second track on the album ‘Out of Sight’ is the perfect amalgamation of all the elements that make the album a riot. The drums are huge and feel like they’ve been pulled from Peter Gabriel from the mid ’80s whilst the synths feel futuristic whilst also like they could enjoy a new romantics revival. There is a guitar element but the guitars are low in the mix, adding grit and flavour to the mix. As if a nod to their shoegaze heavy previous album, the production overall has a background sizzle to everything. At first, I didn’t appreciate this and wanted a cleaner sound. However, when you enjoy singles like ‘Bottle It Up’, its the sizzle of the synth and vocal echoes that make the sound huger than it otherwise would be. Epic is the scale Hundredth aim for and they largely succeed epically.
There are elements of the previous rockier version of Hundredth hiding between all the synths. ‘Leave Yourself’ and ‘Iridescent’ are guitars first synth second and will likely please older fans with its sublime rhythm and gliding vocals over catchy riffs. ‘Whatever’ mixes laid back guitar echoes with a Depeche Mode feel.
Flipping to the complete opposite ‘Slack’ is a cross over between new wave and indie-pop that you’d hear on a Rocket League compilation or a YouTube rewind (thank goodness we don’t have to suffer one of those this year). ‘Why’ pushes out to the dancefloor with heavy beats and pulsating rhythmic synths. To grunge things up a little, a noise distortion filter is in heavy use on the vocals but make no mistake, this is a dance hit in waiting. What the noise distortion does though is bring the poles apart genres of shoegaze rock and dancefloor anthem into alignment. I mentioned earlier that the album has a sizzle – and its that which is the constant. So when you’ve had the dance floor bop, you can then mosh your heart out on the stunning ‘Cauterize’ which is probably my favourite track on the album. Interestingly, it is the purest rock track on the album. That isn’t a dig at the direction change though. The track benefits from the direct pop approach to songwriting that Hundredth achieves across the whole album.
As the album returns to its indie synth merger for closing tracks ‘Way Out’ and the electronica anthem of ‘Too late’ – I feel like I’ve been to both a club and a concert. Hundredth has carefully balanced both sides of the equation to create something that will hopefully satisfy both electronica and synth fans as well as their rock fanbase. It is a daring move but if it isn’t your cup of tea, it is highly likely that Hundredth will not return to the same style ever again for a future album. What that shows in some supreme music craftsmanship to be able to write tracks confidently across multiple genres and be confident enough to pull it off. This is likely to be a word of mouth sleeper hit that will grow in stature over time. Don’t write it off if you came here for rock – there is plenty to enjoy.
Recommended track: Bottle It Up
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