Grinding out a schizophrenic euphoria of jarring noise, Stirling quartet Hey Enemy has taken out an audio overdraft on foot to the pedal distorted chaos on Random Acts of Malpractice.
Teetering on the edge of a complete obliteration of order, Hey Enemy have written a record that manages to manipulate a reckless night out all the while adding spontaneous sound bites of danger, adventure and violence.
For example tracks ‘Johnny Fucko’ and ‘Puppyhammer’ nauseate and fracture rhythm into a decibel of embellished head banging carnage.
‘Officer Down’ detracts slightly from a straight up gunfight of guitar chops and instead cuts down a street of snarly, brain waltzing vocal bronzing.
It is the melted chatter of Jesus La Fontaine that really causes a dilemma, with a drawl and stressed harmonic demeanour that will divide opinion.
On ‘Somewhere Along the Line’, Fontaine has a desolate stench of desperation that screeches into the subliminally stained bass.
It is a shift of dynamic for the band that works and slowly evolves into an efficient formula of consistency that previous releases lacked.
There are moments here, though, that on first listen you cannot fully decide if they fully function or serve a proper purpose on the album.
‘Lungful of Clyde’ for instance is preceded by a muddling and confusingly long intro that threatens to boil and burst on more than one occasion.
When it does eventually disintegrate into a sea of scuzzy shredding guitars, the intrigue has already left, which is a shame because the intricate pallets of piano show a delicate and more serene side to the Stirling mob.
Coming across as the nastier and far more grotesque sibling of ‘Lungful of Clyde’; ‘Mugshot Fatigue’ picks the pace back up with a sauntering of angular guitar attacks.
Suddenly ‘Lungful of Clyde’ no longer looks out of place; served and protected by the foul-mouthed big brother.
It goes without saying that there are an endless amount of bands who hit out with high tempo finger picking riffs these days, Hey Enemy hardly reinvent or deviate from that trend, however, there is a laboured and well polished sound to be discovered in this release.
It remains to be seen whether the quartet can lay seize to the crown currently held by the likes of Take a Worm for a Walk Week and The Unwinding Hours, one thing is for sure though, with Random Acts… they have never been better placed to attempt such a feat.
Words: Chris Kelman