23 Feb 2020
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The Hopkinsville Goblins - Album Review: Pink Orange

10 Jul 2019 // A review by Steve Shyu

The elusive and cryptic Hopkinsville Goblins have reportedly been in existence for nearly five years, yet not too terribly much is known about this mythical little group. Lead by principal songwriter Alvin Impulsive, the Goblins (plus Alvin) have moved on to their third full-album release in about as many years. Kookily dubbed Pink Orange, let’s see if this fourteen-track tastes as interesting as the album cover looks, and if it packs as much zing.

Starting with a two-minute long intro consisting of otherworldly static and eerie outer-space fuzz and stretching into the lo-fi folk song Castaways. Following the openers, Yeah, Okay, But begins to set a precedent of laid-back 70’s alternative rock, marked by a sturdy bassline groove, garage-rock aesthetics and vocals reminiscent of Beck or Lou Reed. A guitar solo makes an appearance, albeit a wandering, formless one. Or is just jazz that one doesn’t understand?

By track five, I Need Air, the experimental and psychedelic aspects of the music starts to become hard to overlook. The song title becomes apt as the off-beat drumming becomes increasingly out of time and frantic, when it suddenly cuts to a sudden stop, leaving the listener overwhelmed and, well, needing air. Also, what is up with the static hiss? If it’s intentional then it’s certainly achieved the goal of imposing a sense of claustrophobia and unease!

Make no mistake; throughout the LP, there’s a good number of standout tracks: There’s the dancey-funky, slightly radio-friendly track Sous Chef. Between verses laden with 1970’s dual guitar-shuffles set over an electronic bass drumbeat, there are choruses that shift in tempo with full-blown psychedelia. On top, there’s that ever-prevalent spoken-singing vocal style, hypnotising one with “Sous chef, heatin’ the pan, dicin’ the carrots, slicing the ham”. Even after a handful of listens, I still couldn’t figure out if the song is about kinky intercourse or describing some cocktail of drugs...

For those more into heavier music, be sure to check out It Ain't Metal, But It Is Heavy. The first and only entry that could be classed under “hard rock”, there’s very rigid industrial drumming, and boasts a fantastic combination of punchy bass and stocky guitar riffs. It’s one instrumental piece that promises what the title suggests – Not really heavy metal, but it sure is heavy and pretty metal.

There’s Who’s Tootin’?, a ballad for the metropolitan commuters among us. An ode to irresponsible drivers; some good ol’ traffic jam blues. With popping bass strings and bold strums of a clean electric guitar, this track reminds one of Red Hot Chili Peppers in their youth. The lyrics are probably the least cryptic here; a funky little number that every road-user can relate to.

Closing with Sous Chef Piano Reduction, one anticipates a stripped-back redux of the aforementioned tune, or a quiet rendition of one of the fourth song’s many riffs, but the album conclusion resembles more an instrumental Mike Patton took from an upset Faith No More, added synthesiser “bloops” then shifted the pitch up and down.

The album does feel unnecessarily bloated; some instrumentals are terrific, but there’s a handful of odd tracks like Pineapple Rattail, Soul on Hold or Synaesthesia which sound somewhat directionless and unusual for the sake of being unusual.

For the most part, one feels the album could be slimmed down from a full album to an EP. Unless you’re big on experimental art-rock and appreciate an album’s aural journey through hazy and turbulent passages, then you’ll likely enjoy Pink Orange from end to end.

Like the unusually-coloured citrus which the cover depicts, the album is certainly quirky and carries a range of character. From zany to funky, from laid-back to overloaded and frenetic, the artist/goblin-group have a lot of potential for which they wish to showcase, but the end product occasionally sounds disjointed and the quality wavers. In moments where songs sound focused and don’t stray far into the experimental or become too samples-heavy is where Hopkinsville Goblins succeed. These gold moments create a fun, light-hearted atmosphere and, occasionally, tongue-in-cheek.

Check out the album by streaming it on Spotify, Deezer, iTunes or Apple Music.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )
 

About The Hopkinsville Goblins

The Hopkinsville Goblins made their first appearance in rural Kentucky in 1955 and have popped up all over the world ever since. They love people and like to play, but too much contact drains their powers. A close encounter with backwoods songwriter Alvis Impulsive led to the formation of a creative bond that helps them express themselves through the universal language of music. These little guys are interstellar nomads that want to pass their wisdom on to help the human race avoid a bland extinction. And dance while it does it.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Hopkinsville Goblins

Releases

Pink Orange
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Posts From Planet Earth
Year: 2016
Type: Album

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