by Jack Ognibene
The debut album from Parisian indie rock and alternative band Hoorsees is lacking in three key areas: originality, variety, and nuance. The vast majority of this record is incredibly one-note, and to be quite frank, only a handful of the tracks even stand out – and not always for the right reasons. That being said, there are some well-crafted sounds and effects on this album that show some potential for future endeavors. However, they are still accompanied by rather lackluster vocal work; generic, repetitive, and somewhat meaningless lyrics; and a distinct lack of substance.
There are some strong and catchy tracks on this album to be sure. The standout aspect of the songs presented on the album is definitely the instrumentals – while they aren’t exactly groundbreaking, they’re always passable, and there are some legitimately interesting moments where the guitars lean into jangle-pop territory. A good example of this is on “Give It Up,” which has a distinctly jangle-pop inspired riff that works well. The reverb-heavy tones of the track complement this sound as well. The opening track, “Overdry,” is probably the best song on the album – it has a memorable and strong chorus, as well as a rather well-crafted guitar riff that is pretty easily hummable. This is also probably one of the only tracks where the vocals actually complement the track – both the backing and main vocals fit well over the guitar riffs and add to the overall sound. The track does lean on many alt-rock clichès throughout its run, but this is excusable. Another fine track is “Get Tired,” which features a comparatively laid-back mood, as well as vocal mixing that isn’t as overbearing as it is on the rest of the record. However, like many of the songs on this album, the lyrics detract from the quality of the track. It seems as if they were not given much thought or time to develop. This is also true of “Instant Tea,” which, despite an intriguing guitar riff, features annoying vocal inflections and seemingly meaningless lyrics.
Ultimately, there are not nearly as many good moments on the album as there are mediocre ones. “Videogames” features a tacky vocal hook, and the instrumentals are passable at best – they’re extremely generic and, to be honest, barely noticeable. This is especially true when faced with the main problem of this record: the terrible vocals, which somehow manage to sound both overly deep and incredibly whiny at the same time. As mentioned before, the lyrics are essentially nonsensical in nature (and not in the thought-provoking avant-garde way). They rely heavily on sayings and generic ideas that have been expressed in better verbiage and tonality by other artists. It sounds as if the band took a bunch of lines from other songs, copied and pasted them in random succession, and somehow decided that the final product was passable. This is no more apparent than on the third track of the record, “Fuckhead,” which not only has an incredibly annoying and irritating hook, but is also so repetitive in its use of the word “fuck” that it ends up sounding extremely irksome and immature. It’s like listening to your middle-schooler cousin who just found out they could say the word with no repercussion from their parents. The rest of the tracks are simply dull. They are extremely generic in their melodies, vocal and instrumental effects, and subject matter, and as a result are barely memorable.
There are some standout tracks on this record, but for the most part, it’s all either bland, mediocre, or both. There is definitely room to grow – the guitarist seems to be able to craft a jangle-pop sound very well when they want to, and some of the songs on this record are passable. If they head in a specific direction, Hoorsees might have a shot at becoming more refined in their sound. The bulk of the work on this album, however, doesn’t bode well for future releases.