Slow Moving Parasite
There are many puns and intellectual references one can make when discussing Hookworms, the Leeds, UK-based five piece psych-drone band. Will their songs stick in your gut as the band name implies? Will they be stuck in your head (aka Earworms)? Will they prattle on, sucking the life out of you? The band itself is in on the joke; its official website is parasiticnematode.blogspot.com (parasitic nematode specifies the type of roundworm a hookworm is). The answer is that, with their debut LP Pearl Mystic, true to their namesake, Hookworms manage to stay with you after the music is over.
They are clearly in no hurry to get the music started, though; opening number “Away Towards” takes its time getting to the vocals, starting with about ninety seconds of sustained keyboards with some repetitive guitar picking and sparse bass. Some heavily reverbed chanting comes in, and by the three minute mark, the song takes off. Once it does, it really does, driving and rocking along in a way that would likely make an eager live audience explode. Most of the songs abandon melody and change, relying on this single-note, single-chord approach. What makes Hookworms stand out, though is that there are signs that they could do more. A slight change in “Form and Function” implies (but does not aver) a chorus. “In Our Time” shows the band’s mellower side, and the melodies therein betray that Hookworms is capable of indie-pop if they so desired.
But they don’t desire. Clearly, they have selected this type of music. Pearl Mystic “drones” more than it “psyches,” and that is deliberate. The lengthy, directionless instrumental bits flesh out most of the album, including three numbers that serve to connect two other songs (“I” and “II”) or, in the case of “III,” bring the album to a serene close. Pearl Mystic is a piece, meant to be listened to as a whole and will likely be performed live as such, or at least some songs will inevitably link together. The best thing about Hookworms is that they have the chops to break loose whenever they want to and become a top-notch indie-rock band, but for now they see no need to; they are who they are, and they will stay in your guts as long as they want to.