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Hi Fiction Science - Hi Fiction Science

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 23 / 7 / 2011

Hi Fiction Science - Hi Fiction Science
Label: Negative Drive Records
Format: CD


Accomplished and intelligent combination of folk, electronica and rock on debut album from Bristol-based group, Hi Fiction Science

Hi-Fiction Science was formed in 2008, and played a number of local gigs in their native Bristol, performing instrumentals with a self-acknowledged nod to Can and Neu! The band was joined by vocalist Maria Charles, whose Anglo-Wagnerian vocals are a cross between Nico and Gracie Slick. This, their debut album, is quite unlike anything that I have heard before. Deep, looping synthesiser textures are topped by energetic yet atmospheric guitars, and a sure and steady percussive presence courtesy of drummer Aiden Searle. The opening track, 'Black Flower,' begins with an explosion of guitars, before settling into a mellow drone-like soundscape over which Charles’ vocals sit strident and assertive. The pounding background, at once angry and soothing, takes the listener deeper into the material – the music is almost a shamanic ritual. Indeed, in terms of a band’s interaction with its singer, the one precedent that comes immediately to mind is the Doors. There are real moments of trippy calm on this album, such as 'Zabriskie', an instrumental but for a short countdown by Charles, and for me this is one of the highlights of the album. It’s very difficult to impress like this with an instrumental, but the band’s work, when stripped of vocals, really excels. This track would not be out of place on 'Screamadelica' or a Mogwai record, such is the depth of the groove that the boys find for themselves. For me, the true highlight of the album is 'Kosomonaut', a pounding, latter-day 'Astronomy Domine' as played by The Kings of Leon, and a spoken word vocal which, by virtue of its not having been treated in any way, emphasises the humanity of the piece. 'PSK', the most straight-forward song on the album, is also the weakest. The simplicity of its production hints at potential lost, and one cannot help but feel that it is out of place with the remainder of the material. Overall, this album is intelligently written and well-executed. There is a fine balance between folk, electronica and good old fashioned rock, but there is also room in the mix for a hypnotic blend of musical textures which transport the listener to a simultaneously relaxing and stimulating place. This a very accomplished debut, and I can imagine hearing much more of this band in the future.

Track Listing:-
1 Black Flower
2 Old World
3 Zabriskie
4 Metal Terrapin
5 Spirit Broken
6 Kosmonaut
8 Fleance
9 Undulating Blue

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