Album Reviews

The Mae Shi – HILLYH

(Moshi Moshi) UK release date: 11 February 2008

If someone came up to you at a party and started juggling with their left hand, doing open heartsurgery with their right, all the time bouncing on a space hopper whilst recanting the odd numberedverses of the Song Of Solomon in the original Hebrew, would you be impressed? No. You wouldn’t.You’d look despairingly for an exit or a drink or a plank of wood with nails through it.

The Mae Shi are like that. HILLYH is a grand smorgasbord of ideas, some fairly well executed, allhappening at once. About three inches from your face. It’s exhausting, and also immenselyirritating. Every song, even the ones which initially seem quite good, eventually end up causing youto grimace in pain.

For example, the first few times you hear Lamb and Lion it’s actually quite grin-inducing. Itbounces around like an over-active Italian plumber and you imagine it being exactly what strappingThey Might Be Giants to a missile and firing them them into space would sound like. Thenthere’s PWND. It’s spiky and abrasive, the kind of thing The Pixies may have come up with hadthey never discovered the quiet Ying to the screaming Yang and had developed a deep and meaningfulCasio fetish instead.

But then, after a few listens, it all becomes a big wash of noise that’s such an inconceivable choreto sit through that you wonder why anyone would bother. There’s no balance or finesse to it, just aseries of ever wackier ideas presented and dismissed in the quickest fashion possible.

Take Kingdom Come. No seriously, take it. Take it, burn it, grind up the ashes, seal them in alead-lined container, bury them in the ground and then build a prison on top of them. If the past20 years of electronic music was an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, then Kingdom Come would bethe one attempting to fit 300 spring rolls and 20 portions of Kung-Po chicken into asmall foil tray.

It’s possible that there is a half-decent album in HILYH. But then again, there’s probably areasonable plot for a dream home at your local landfill site. It’s just that it’s disguised undersuch a pile of shit that you’d never make the effort to find it.

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The Mae Shi – HILLYH