EP REVIEW: Hypnosister – ‘Hypnosister’

'Taken as a collection of songs the EP is hugely impressive, there isn’t one filler track here. This, people, is a must.'


To get you up to speed here – in case you’re not – Hypnosister is the moniker of songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Damian Hughes. He launched this project following his departure from Allusondrugs. So we’re all on the same page here now.

So what does Hypnosister sound like, well Damian himself describes it as ‘space-pop’. Hmmm, is that helping? Ok so it’s all sorts of fuzzed out guitars in songs with huge great bloody tunes, tunes to die for, tunes that are frankly going to stay with you for ever.. However there is strangeness, there is the frankly weird. There is this thing that runs through the tracks, something that say ‘yep these come from the head of the same person’, although they all don’t sound the same. I like that, I like that a lot.

So let’s dive in people. It’s track one ‘Poorly Boy’. And immediately you’re going to say ‘what the fuck is going on here’, well I did as it opens with this huge great classical sounding swell. But then we’re into the meat of it, it’s this rushing rocking thing, with guitar that just throws everything at the song, there’s fuzz, there’s rock licks. There is the biggest chorus. But don’t get complacent, this thing throws all sorts of changes at you. It lets you settle in, thinking ‘yep so I know what’s this going to do’ and then it doesn’t, it does something completely different.

‘Bother’ reminded me slightly of Suede, only slightly mind, and only in places. It’s slower, more, how shall we put this, epic.

That epic thing continues with ‘Breath’. It’s slower again, there’s this steady guitar chord. If you listen to this several times in a row it all becomes hypnotic.. But there are these sections where suddenly it opens out into something that just has the sweetest tune. But then it does the strangest thing it becomes something else entirely, suddenly and not for long at all, it returns briefly to that crashing guitar chord and fades out on this oh-so-lovely keyboard.

‘Ghost’ is poppier, it has a tune you could go to your grave happy having heard it, it’s a tune that drives itself into your brain. But it’s pop with a rock edge, a fuzzed out rock edge. It also has some of the strangest keyboard/vocal things goings on I’ve heard in a say a while. It even has, at least to me, a sort of Cardiacs thing going on. Love this track to death.

I’ve spent ages trying to work out quite what ‘I’m Going To Die’ reminds me of. I’ve thought I had it several times, and then I change my mind. But the other day it suddenly came me to, it’s Crowded House. OK so only a bit, and it’s Crowded House type tunes with this huge rock-pop thing going on. Look you may think differently. But what you can’t deny is under the guitar there is a song with an absolutely huge tune. And the layered vocals on this are just fantastic.

And now onto the final track on the EP ‘Scribbles’. This my friends is a completely different kettle of fish. It starts with this sort of acid fairground organ thing. And then it just becomes this thing that is huge and strangely disturbing, it’s all off-kilter, it all has this weird cross rhythm thing going on. It goes all sort of discordant, all sort of Robyn Hitchcock. And fades on the weird acid fairground organ. What I still can’t decide is exactly how I feel about this track. I listen to it, and I think ‘not sure I like it all that much’. I listen to it again, and I love it. On balance the ‘love its’ out-weight the ‘not sure about this’. And somehow I know that at some stage in the future I’m going to be playing this to friends saying it’s brilliant and they have to love it. This is the problem with reviews, you don’t always get enough time for music to sink in, and make sense, for your head to really get it.

The EP is available on CD here: http://hypnosister.bigcartel.com/product/hypnosister-ep-cd

The info

Hypnosister’s self titled debut EP, written, recorded and produced in it’s entirety by Damian Hughes, is made of a mixture of new material and songs originally intended for his old outfit, Allusondrugs.


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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.