ORG Music, 2012
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/12/2012
When you hear the word supergroup, you tend to think of well-known frontmen or women and musicians who are household names. Admit it, when Zwan was advertised as ex-Smashing Pumpkins, no one immediately thought “Oh, James Iha must be in that band.” [Editor’s note: No… because Iha was in supergroup Tinted Windows instead.]
Well, Dot Hacker are undeniably a supergroup, but not one comprised of names you’re likely to recognize, despite being players in household-name bands. Featuring players associated with Beck, Gnarls Barkley, PJ Harvey, Charlotte Gainsbourg, The Butthole Surfers, Broken Bells and Red Hot Chili Peppers – whose guitarist Josh Klinghoffer takes up lead vocal duties here -- the level of credibility is about as high as possible. The band managed to piece this disc together between commitments with their full-time gigs.
Amazingly, Dot Hacker doesn’t sound much like any of the bands these players came from, and we can assume this is amalgamation of a long list of influences from each musician involved. The disc opens with “Order/Disorder,” a track of sonic riffage that wouldn’t be out of place sandwiched between a Nirvana and Sonic Youth video on 120 Minutes circa 1995. From there, things get more spacey and dreamy, with the delicate and shoegaze-esque “Eye Opener” bringing to mind a more raw version of Mazzy Star. “Discotheque” builds swells of noise and melody, showing graceful power and extremely detailed songcraft; it’s the album highlight and might be the best example of the band’s sound.
Later on in the disc the pace picks up with “Quotes,” a hypnotic and droning attack that erupts into pounding melodica and eventually fades out in similar fashion to how it started. “Puncture” closes the album and is the longest song here, containing heavy piano work that concludes on barely breathing keys, finally resting with a last gasp after slowly drifting away.
Klinghoffer and friends craft a thoughtful, ethereal listen, bringing a varied bag of sounds and textures to create something that is very interesting from beginning to end. It manages to bring to mind many of the greats (The Pixies meets My Bloody Valentine might be the most accurate), but still maintains a distinct sound all its own. If you’re like me, you’ll find this a lot more necessary than the bands these guys normally play in.