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(70:13: Glass Castle Recordings)
The third album, 2017’s ‘Broken But Still Standing’ is yet another concept. It follows the story of human evolution, from LUCA, the last universal common ancestor of all current life on earth, via Lucy, one of the possible precursors of our species, to conflict and eventual symbiosis with artificial intelligences. The general theme of the album is that life has progressed by forming coalitions, whether between the primitive cells that engulfed each other to become the cell and the mitochondria (the power stations of the cell), between individuals to form communities, or between different forms of life in the future. As the last album can be seen to be a continuation of the debut, so this can be seen to be a direct follow-on from the second in the way the music is more varied, more complex, yet without losing the angst and anger which shows the indie roots. The flute on “Almost Familiar” is the perfect foil for the guitar, while both follow on from delicate vocals and layered keyboards. The drums are kept front and centre, ensuring we don’t relax too much into the music. The instrumentals are delicate and dreamlike, introducing us to different characters within the album, with “Luca to Lucy” taking us from the last common universal ancestor of all life on earth through to the earliest found ancestor of homo sapiens. But contrast that delicacy to “I Fell In Love With A Mechanical Dragon”, which is back to the HOGIA of old with repeated lyrics, repeated melodic phrases, full of angst and passion. Simplistic keyboards reminiscent of Pulp are the backbone of this, and in the right environment this would be a hit single. I find it both incredibly infectious and annoying at the same time, yet is probably the single song of theirs I have played most as there is something about the naivety which really works for me, and I’m still not sure why. HOGIA are a contradiction in many ways, producing music which would be embraced by many in the prog community and plenty others which would be shunned. The attitude reminds me somewhat of Poisoned Electrick Head while managing to sound nothing like them. Exciting, interesting, and certainly never conciliatory this is indie prog worth investigating.
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