At just over 20 minutes, Hollywood Sinners provide a no strings attached, instantly gratifying visceral experience
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With over seventy years of guitar music to compete with, it seems an almost impossible task for rock and roll bands to create music that is unique and innovative. There’s doubt that this rich history has left a trail of clichés, staples and structures that have been adopted by musicians everywhere, creating even more issues surrounding originality. In a music industry that is increasingly progressing, distancing itself from these tropes and modes of expression, how does one defy natural selection and survive using this rock and roll ethos as its core blueprint? Hollywood Sinners‘ latest release provides the answer, as Khome Kakka’s impassioned spirit and pulsating aura infuses these rock and roll intonations with a new pulse.
Throughout the album there is a sense of youth and vigour that belies the fact that this is the band’s first release since 2011. No contrivance is mere superficial imitation, as is so often the case in these kinds of records. We neither bear the brunt of any mundane social commentary, nor are we weighed down with a barrage clumsily unoriginal, pseudo-disenfranchised sentiment. Done well, this agenda influenced punk is enlightening and insightful, even rousing in its ability to inspire and influence. However, far too common are its piss-stained regurgitated formulas, tepid templates protruding beyond the surface and shining a light on overt lyrical insincerity and musical indifference. No, Hollywood Sinners have no agenda more urgent than the garagerock essence of making fun, digestible and unpretentious rock and roll songs.
‘Khome Kakka’ is surly and combative from the off, the anarchic roars of ‘Me Da Igual’ inciting instant insurrection, its spine shattering riff turning great infrastructures to rubble. Indeed, this notion of an abrupt onslaught seeps through every aspect . At just over 20 minutes, Hollywood Sinners provide a no strings attached, instantly gratifying visceral experience. ‘Abuelo del Skate’ is youthful and assertive, its guitars braving granular grinds across pernicious razor blades. Manitoban vocal meanders on ‘Chunk of Steel’ spiral ominously, while throughout, lead guitar lines borrow as much from Dick Dale as The Dictators. Bask in the West Coast slipstreams while you can – licks far more sinister lurk in shallow waters.
For listeners put off by Spanish lyrics, fluency in a foreign language is, at times, a mere surplus. The balmy chords of ‘Rama la Drama’ soon melt away any notion of linguistic difference, its sun-kissed solo oozing molten wax like a candle left out in the Toledo summer. For each grainy riff and climactic progression the album seems to provide a warming counterpart, a revitalising tonic to appease the commotion. The album’s closing track ‘I Want You’ emits a Beatlemania sentimentality, evoking a popmusic wistfulness in a way that is fun and remedial. If anything, ‘Khome Kakka’ provides further evidence to what we already knew, that music transcends any linguistic or cultural differences. Music, devoid of affectation and self-interest, is the pure absorption of culture, limning oceans of experience where language can never suffice.
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Hollywood Sinners are a band that will never break musical boundaries or kick start a sonic revolution. Nor would they want to. Punk and garagerock by their very nature rely on a set of unwritten conventions and principles. To rebuke basic song, chord and lyrical tradition for something more elite would nullify the very punk ethos that gives the band’s music such fiery dynamism. The fact that ‘Khome Kakka’ is so pulsating is even more impressive when you consider that there’s been no drastic development in the band’s style since its first release. Don’t be fooled by its compactness, it only adds to its intensity.
The riffs, the song structures and the general staples of DIY punk will always exist, drifting celestially for anybody to grab onto and adopt. Only the fervent and enthusiastic can snatch them, reconstruct them, and inject them with real identity. HollywoodSinners are among the select few, consolidating these rock and roll standards into a nuclear arsenal before firing them back into the atmosphere, where they’ll drift as shrapnel for the next for the next band to adapt.
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