Well, way back in 2011 – that’s before they got snatched up by Sub Pop – Italy’s His Electro Blue Voice launched this dark, rugged 12″ EP. Scuzzy garage bands, for better or for worse, are a dime a dozen these days, but there’s a certain neurosis that really sets HEBV apart from the others: these guys are absolutely fascinated with how time moves forward. These vast tracks are jam-packed with sudden shifts in texture and tone: “Dead Mice” starts as moon-drenched spookycore, ambles into sound collage, collapses to minimalist electrobeats and barrels into surfy jangle riffs, all in under 8 minutes; “Zum” churns out a battery of crusty 16th notes, stops on a dime, and (without any hesitation) dives into 80s dancebeats. It makes these tunes feel restless, like they’re constantly pushing forward into something new as quickly as possible, and what the listener gets are single tracks that progress through multiple “mini-songs”.
But the HEBV crew is also unique in how they choose to fill that “time” they love so much. Sound collage is their weapon of choice, and the damage they inflict with it is staggering. Buzzsaws yawn in “Dead Mice” before a recorder-saxophone army turns the song into a noise-punk Children’s Crusade; the constant buzzing of “Eat Sons” sounds like you’re playing Operation with an utter sadist who won’t stop closing the circuit; that famous knives-on-plate screech tears through the muddy mix of “Zum” and drives itself into your ears. Even the album’s final moments are bathed in found sound: that indiscernible whining, the rushing waves of rotary, the child-like 8-bit sonata, those acoustic guitars hitting major and minor…Dead Sons is an intensely varied, storied tapestry. Pick up a copy on Brave Mysteries Records, stream it below, and scope newer albums on Sup Pop.