Release Date: Out Now
Quite often, I like to let you, dear reader, know where a particular musical act is from but in the case of Henge I really don’t think it would help or enrich the enjoyment of the album. Also, according to their Facebook page, they are a collective from a range of planets and solar systems including Venus, Earth and Xylanthia. Regardless of such trivial things as longitude and latitude, Henge are genuinely one of the most creative, thought provoking and strikingly original bands I have come across and this album, all seven tracks of it, is the perfect antidote to the steady stream of manufactured drivel being force fed to the masses. And here’s way….
For starters, opening with a six-minute opus by the name of ‘Mushroom One’ is a bold move, especially as it moves from a Spaghetti Western opening in to a Dub Step rhythm embellished with Dick Dale guitars and early Prodigy vocal delivery. This is prog for the ADHD generation with melodies ready to be boomeranged in to your consciousness at any moment. ‘Moon’ follows on using thumping, Viking drums and a Theremin to create an atmosphere of unease and uncertainty for the vocals to seep decadently in to like an erudite devil on your shoulder leading you down a corridor of no return.
The drums take centre stage again on ‘Indigo Dust’ before the cool Jazz guitars skip in to get your shoulders moving. There’s an Edwyn Collins meets John Grant meets Style Council vibe to this track but that’s about as earthly as this pleasure gets so just let it envelope you and drift away. ‘In Praise of Water’ features some guest performances from Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Echo the Dolphin…I jest of course, but the frenetic 8-bit synth melodies are as addictive as those early games when gameplay ruled over graphics and soundtracks.
|Henge + Mushrooms|
‘Monolith’ sees our heroes channel Young Knives through tightly strung guitars, a trip to Nepal for the key changes and Gorillaz for the vocals all stuck together with a squidgy synth bass line that makes the walls rattle and your internal organs question their existence. As our odyssey in to the unknown approaches its destination there are more Jazzy meanderings and the odd ‘coin collection’ sound effect on ‘Machine Landscape’ – the perfect soundtrack for just sitting back and letting all drift away from you.
The final offering, a cosmic encore if you will is the anthemic ‘Demilitarise’ which emerges from the jungles of Africa with a battle cry of “We demand that the weapons of war are manufactured no more, demilitarised. We demand that we have in its place the means to unite and colonise space” – a strong manifesto if ever I heard one. This message is then hammered home over nearly ten minutes of synth fuelled funky electro music with gang vocals sounding like a room full of Ian Brown and his mates just getting baggy with it. Henge are out there, I mean way, way out there but right now I can’t think of a single better place to be on this planet or any other.
22nd November – HiFi Club, Leeds
23rd November – The Continental, Preston
24th November – Kilmarnock Festival
25th November – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
29th November – The Bodega, Nottingham
30th November – The Donkey, Leicester
1st December – EBGBS, Liverpool
7th December – The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
8th December – Gorilla, Manchester