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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Hood
Outside, Closer
Domino Recording Co.

Rating: 8/10 ?


February 2, 2005
There is no denying the impersonality that characterises modern city life. You can go about your day-to-day activities and encounter hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people on a purely formal and unfriendly basis. As society becomes more diverse and interdependent, it inevitably becomes disjointed - and in ways never really experienced before, people become distanced from one another. Technological advancement, most notably the Internet, means that space itself is rapidly becoming irrelevant to us; it is common to interact with people on the other side of the world, whereas those that share the same town, school, suburb or even street may seem a million miles away.

The arrival of Hood's latest record, Outside, Closer, through my letterbox demonstrates this modern phenomenon. Hood and I are from the same city: Leeds, England, so you can imagine the irony of an album that flew all the way to LAS HQ in Iowa, only to make a U-turn and fly straight back, ending up on my doorstep, just around the corner from where its journey originally began. That is globalization in a nutshell.

Hood have transposed the aloofness and feeling of self-isolation - the sort collectively experienced amongst city-dwellers - to audio format with Outside, Closer. It generates a desolate atmosphere that, despite its own vulnerability, is entirely accessible. Hood offer textured, well-structured songs that do not rely on riffs or obvious chord patterns as such, but on the workings of a host of instruments, playing off one another, and gradually shaping the direction of Outside, Closer.

"The Negatives…" sets the scene with a brisk waltz that owes as much to lo-fi indie-pop as it does to neo-classicism. Vocalist Richard Adams's fragile vocals apply the finishing touches to the dark ambience established by the layers of strings and guitars; the solid, yet murky mix of Radiohead seems like a good point of reference. The bleeps and blips that introduce "Any Hopeful Thoughts Arrive" are reminiscent of Hood's preceding full-length, Cold House, in which electronics play a more prominent role.

Although Outside, Closer dwells in cheerless minimalism it is a joy to listen to. In the right context it can prove fulfilling, perhaps even uplifting. Its purpose, I suspect, is to make those cold, lingering winter evenings more bearable, and although Hood's profile in their hometown is kept relatively low, I cannot help but perceive Outside, Closer as a gift to those residents of Leeds - where winter is felt in full force, and where the prolonged winter months are particularly difficult to endure alone.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright

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