During the past twelve months in which the world has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have felt our words closing in, our movements limited, our sense of freedom curtailed and our social circles have either diminished or disappeared entirely. When all familiarity and safety nets are removed, our sense of self, our subjectivity, is threatened, warped and barred from actualisation. A Disconnect, the second full length album from Manchester based four-piece The Hyena Kill taps into these feelings of isolation and withdrawal with an all too familiar perception. Vocalist/guitarist Steven Dobb has described how the bulk of the album’s material was written during a very dark personal time for him personally and in light of the current situation, many will find the themes of this album easy to relate to. The ten tracks on offer here are simply outstanding, written and played with a verve and vigour that is irresistible and timeless.
Eerie synths and heartbeat-like pulsations open the record in the form of instrumental short ‘Septic’ before the album surges to life with the instantly catchy and urgent ‘Passive Disconnect’. Filled with a plethora of hooks and more than a nod to 90s heavyweights Nirvana and Garbage, it’s the perfect introduction to an album teeming with highlights. From the Deftones echoing post-metal vibes of ‘Cauterised’,to the grunge leanings of ‘Bleached’, the acoustic misery of ‘Thin’ and the otherworldly gentleness of emotive closer ‘Mire’, A Disconnect is a portrait of a band revelling in their songwriting sweet spot. The production is immaculate too with Sam Jones’ huge, haunting guitar sound bolstered by the deep, feel-them-in-your-chest bass tones of Charlie Seisay and the diverse, pounding rhythms of Lorna Blundell.
The Hyena Kill may have their influences very firmly pinned to their sleeves, but this never detracts from their own originality; this is a band with very much their own sound and emotional palette. With any luck, A Disconnect will introduce the band to much a wider audience, because songs this good simply demand to be heard.
A Disconnect is out 5th March via APF Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Pegg