Hurtling‘s singer and guitarist Jen Macro is best known as the longtime live guitarist/keyboardist in My Bloody Valentine‘s live line up. But anyone expecting an identikit spin off project will be,, if not necessarily disappointed, certainly way off the mark.
There, is, without doubt, plenty on the South Londoners’ ten track debut album to please the appetites of those who might pick it up off the back of that connection. Macro’s guitar gets processed into textures every bit as beautiful and transporting as those in MBV mainman Kevin Shields’ arsenal, it’s true. But there are distinct and significant differences too.
Firstly, while their sound draws from the same sonic palate as both the fuzzy psychedelic soup of the Valentines and dreamier,, chorus-drenched serenity of the Cocteau Twins, Hurtling pack way more emotional punch and direct communication, Where those two acts obscure their use of vocals by, in the first case, burying them in the mix and in the second, using opaque language, the Hurtling sound is a wild tempest that places Macro’s voice and lyrics very much at its centre. As a result, it’s a much more intimate and personal experience.
Musically, it operates in the creative space between grunge and shoegaze without touching too closely on either. ‘Memory Cassette‘ has echoes of Lemonheads‘ wonderfully casual delivery and and also a bit of Sonic Youth‘s punky rabble rousing. ‘Feel It‘ channels The Cure‘s darker-edged chugging but ties it to the off kilter, angular arrangements of Pavement and also the quiet/loud dynamics of Pixies and Nirvana, ‘E Flat One‘ and ‘Let Go‘, meanwhile, utilise more floaty dreampop territory, providing a mid-album respite, although the latter gives way eventually to Sabbath-style riffs offset by lush harmonies. It’s a particularly sublime moment.
But everything here is building up to the album’s closing three tracks, probably the best clutch of songs here. ‘Don’t Know Us‘ sees the three piece convalesce around a brutal but brilliant riff that might be a distant cousin of the one the Pistols employed on ‘Pretty Vacant‘. It’s breathtakingly heavy but still leaves room for Macro to spit venomous fire about the liars and fakers of this world. ‘Blank It Out‘ is, conversely, slippery and shiny, its chorus of “don’t do it again” proving to be arguably the album’s catchiest moment. Then they call on ‘Call To Arms (E Flat Two)‘ to bring the album to a close, the most emotionally raw song here, slow and steady at first then exploding into heaviocity, the distress and pain in Macro’s voice hauntingly obvious.
If the reference points sound a little too rooted in the late 80s/early 90s heyday of the genres in question, it’s a problem that’s more theoretical than actual. Hurtling manage to breathe new life into those well worn sounds, chopping and changing, mixing and matching them into genuinely fresh shapes. The future from here, if anything, looks pretty bright for Hurtling.
Future From Here is out now on Onomatopoeia.