Live Review: HERMITUDE - HyperParadise

15 March 2012 | 8:59 am | Craig Pearce

The Blue Mountains' premier beatsmiths, Hermitude, recently reached a commercial apex with their anthemic, dancefloor call-to-action Speak Of The Devil. With its mid-tempo synth-funk woven to an unforgettably catchy vocal (and much-feted video), the track has become somewhat of a rare non-four-to-the-floor Gen Y anthem, crossing almost every genre line imaginable – exactly what proper anthems do. On their new album, HyperParadise, though, the duo has resisted the temptation to run off ten duplicates, leaving Speak Of The Devil out on its own in terms of accessibility. A million miles more advanced than simply producers of instrumental hip hop, Hermitude's raw, doped-up synth experimentation not only stands up by itself, but whores itself across, between and underneath genres to the point where fans of that single might be in for a shock.
Take The Villain for instance, an ugly brute of a track, a military saw-tooth stomp armed with blinding laser beam synths, or Sloucho Darx, flaunting a codeine-laced, chopped and screwed hip hop attitude. The influence of dubstep, drum'n'bass and electro looms large in places, while elsewhere lie oddities such as All Of You, almost a bluesy meeting of Pendulum and early Fatboy Slim.
Yet amongst the sledge hammer beats and bass lives plenty of subtle musical finessing – Engage's booming drum breaks and menacing synth-bass is broken up by sweet flamenco guitars; Let You Go, cradling some beaten up soulfulness, is simultaneously pretty and sad while, in a rare moment of (restrained) joy, the almost-tropical title track reminds a little of Basement Jaxx.
It would be safe to say that this country has produced little like HyperParadise and though a chunk of the population won't get it, in the current climate the album will find plenty of fans.