Hella CD/DVD review by Howard Wuelfing
Feb 20, 2008, 00:02
HELLA Homeboy / Concentration Face CD/DVD
Sigh. In principle, Hella are a great idea; in practice, I fear you need to be a smart-ass 20-year-old to really get a charge outta this.
This basic motif encountered on Homeboy entails guitarist Spencer Seim picking up a strum, or riff, or chord, and playing it doggedly, sometimes furiously, while drummer Zach Hill attacks his kit with determined ferocity. Upon occasion, they'll layer everything, then add the kitchen sink, to create a monolithic slab of pure sonic density—but with no other distinguishing factors readily discernible. Rather like mid-century modern art, the tracks here are primarily ABOUT something rather than being something. They function as statements of strategies for their own sake: speed; thickness; volume. All this is a worthy pursuit and of course instructive. Outfits like Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse and Half Japanese did the math decades ago.
This release also features a DVD filmed on a Japanese tour, titled Concentration Face. It's all the above plus visuals of Hella appearing as earnest and frantic as possible—though perhaps paling by comparison with their audiences' ecstasies.
I do suppose that each generation must, nay needs, to reinvent the wheel for the gnostic thrill of discovery, transgression etc. and if you've yet to step foot on this path, this is an intense and worthwhile introduction to a post-Fall Out Boy world view.Â [5RC]