In merely fifty-five minutes, an eclectic combination of synth-heavy psychedelia and dark, ethereal shoegaze was enough to leave myself, and a sold out Brudenell Social Club, left entranced by the Leeds quintet. Performing at the launch of their new album, The Hum, Hookworms’ set also consisted of tracks from their self-titled first EP and their first full release, Pearl Mystic.
Opening with ‘Away/Towards,’ a track from their debut album, the audience was immediately thrown into the middle of a nine-minute juggernaut, filled with suspense from the start and layer upon layer of glimmering distortion. After this it was clear that those inside were about to bear witness to something particularly exceptional.
Hookworms’ appeared to acknowledge the audience’s complete encapsulation, feeding off it as the set continued and playing with a sense of unconstrained intensity. Tracks such as ‘Radio Tokyo’ and ‘The Impasse’ (the latter also being the name of Hookworms’ own specially brewed pale ale) both offer blistering percussion laden with almost haunting synths and driving bass lines, which appeared to set the tone for what was yet to follow.
But within seconds the intensity soon dropped as drone after drone again rang out, but only just before the swooning vocals of ‘Off Screen’. The track not only showcases Hookworms’ softer side, perhaps harking back to the golden age of British shoegaze, but also their ability to completely turn a live performance on its head and manipulate the atmosphere with ease.
The Hum itself is described as a low frequency droning sensation that can cause insanity or even suicide in some cases. However, it’s clear that Hookworms’ infectious, distinctive sound, coupled with their atmospheric live shows, could only serve to leave you in complete awe.