In the dictionary under the definition of “Math Rock,” it should just say “see Hella.” Math rock in its infancy was cultivated by bands like King Crimson and Frank Zappa but over the last decade, no band has meant more to the genre than Zach Hill and company. Their latest offering, Tripper is their first new album since 2007’s There’s No 666 in Outer Space.
In the four years since their last album, a lot has changed for Hella. They are back down to their original form as a two piece after ballooning to five piece. As a duo, the band is able to concentrate their sound and make a sonically complex aesthetic.
Tripper is also the band’s first album on Sargent House. The label is home to other big names in math rock like Adebisi Shank, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, and Tera Melos. Like these other big names in math rock, Hella continues to push the boundaries of their genre. Opening track, “Headless,” features guitarist Spencer Seim putting quick blasts of guitar riffs to match Zach Hill’s virtuosic drumming. The song eventually comes to a crescendo in a mass of pure noise as both men rage on their instruments.
While my description does aptly describing the song’s musical merit, what it leaves out is Hella’s most important ingredient and that is fun. A lot of math rock is as complex and heady as “Headless” but no one sounds like their having as much fun as Hella. The band seems to emanate pure joy as they see where the music will take them and that’s part of the adventure of listening to Tripper.
MP3: Hella “Headless”
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