by tom johnson
“The winter is nothing new, but it feels colder and colder without you,” sings Samuel Cogen on “Winter“, a stand-out track on his band’s wonderful new album, and a small collection of words that perhaps paint a far more vivid picture of the enclosed melodrama than any existential review can proffer.
Released this Friday, but streaming in full on this very page from today, ‘If Language‘ is the beautiful new full-length from Hypoluxo, a band that hail from Brooklyn but take their name from a small town in Florida. This distinction is an important one to make, too, because ‘If Language’ positively reeks of the big city; all the sights, smells, sounds, and small revolving lives that pass through it restlessly and relentlessly. It’s also probably important to get The National comparison out the way early on; yes, Hypoluxo sound quite a lot like Berninger and co. but then, those early records always seemed to be a channeling of inflictions and frustrations, the fight for meaningful moments in meaningless lives, and Hypoluxo’s music stands as a direct extension of that, and is just as riddled with such complexities.
Samuel Cogen is blessed with a sodden monotone of a voice, and it’s exquisitely used across the record; an ever-present counter-point to the spacious instrumentation that expertly wraps itself around such utterances. There’s a dim-light sheen to the music that runs right through the heart of the record, and it’s perhaps this, rather than Cogen’s doomed lilt, that gives the record such a feeling of the city. The musical backing shimmers and glows from start to finish but it’s a supremely monochromatic glow; of buildings slowly coming alive in the shift of the evening, of hidden, unlit streets quietly waking up in the dimmed morning air.
The attached press release for the record uses the word “intoxicating” to describe the record’s effect and that’s a most perfect descriptor, because for all the spaciousness that’s present it never once feels airy, or wide open, rather it feels like private, guarded space under a blanket of atmosphere, all the way through to the final track “If Language” which gently seems to offer a break in the clouds just as the whole thing draws to a close.
In front of that partial clearing, however, lie nine compelling tracks; nine melodic journeys that travel through strictly personal circumstances in a very relatable world; nine exquisite, poignant melodramas that all add up to a record that is richly compelling for both wanderers and wonderers alike. Check out the full stream below and pre-order it right away.
‘If Language’ is released on September 30th, via Broken Circles
You can pre-order it here