Hammer No More the Fingers: Black Shark

You’re right to have been annoyed with the eighties revival of 2010. It was constantly pedalled to us like Amy Winehouse and her drug dealer, becoming the most annoying come back since Jedward and Ghostbusters.
Whilst we’re yet to see if the same fate befalls the nineties revival of 2011, there’s one band that’s been doing it from their basement since being kids, like a Chilean miner and aerobic exercise.
Alongside Liverpool’s hope of a top place Premier League position, American’s Hammer No More the Fingers (taken from a badly translated tool manual if you’re curious) have avoided the populist, slight mainstream path that the aforementioned have followed.
In the worst case, HNMTF could rape the image and sound of the era’s giants resulting in the commercialised excretion that’s equivalent to that next “big thing” BBC Radio One might latch on to.
Thankfully, it’s an onslaught of nostalgic pleasure that permeates the “coffee shop” charm of Hands Down, the brazen barrage of the Pixies and the poignant modesty of Elliott Smith.
The cacophonic polyphony of opener Atlas of an Eye concerns confusion and distress (Where the hell am I? I can’t see the other side) whilst aromas of violence and terror weave their way through the charmingly nonchalant Shark (The shark is back, It twists and turns, moving around, it burns for miles back) and menacingly through The Visitor (Look what you did, candy kid, you killed the choir), all of which are amplified by the angst-y and delicate wails of Duncan Webster.
Whilst HNMTF strive to stray away from that mainstream aura, there’s always going to be the danger of sounding like something else. Unlike some of their counterparts, they avoid all the pretention of the generic package.
The eighties is so 2010. Welcome back to the nineties.
Alex Yau

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