This ‘Hills’ article was written by Matt Watts, a GIGsoup contributor – lead photo by Beatrice Gräppi

4*Frid is the new album from Swedish psychadelianauts Hills and is the follow up to 2011’s Master Sleeps. 

You’ll struggle to believe that Hills are only a three-piece band and not a whole psychedelic orchestra as opening track ‘Kollektiv’ zaps you into an alternate reality constructed upon layers and layers of reverberating instrumentation. While not overwhelming, the psychedelic sound is immersive and has a grand sense of scale. The stereo pan of the guitar on ‘Kollektiv’ makes you feel like you may well be orbiting it – such is the power of Hills’ aural LSD.

As ‘Kollektiv’ draws to a close, the guitar, which has so far dominated the track, is replaced by a sitar and the track takes on an Eastern vibe which is continued in the opening of following track ‘National Drone.’ At best, this feels Sgt. Pepper’s inspired, at worst it feels like a Hollywood film using a snatch of sitar to indicate that the action has now moved to India. This impression is quickly undercut by the first vocals on the album, with the Swedish voices echoing and chanting – it is yet another instrument added to the mix, with the only lead or dominant sound coming from the wailing guitar.

‘National Drone’ is an appropriate title for the second track, as the whole album does have a drone to it. The bottom layer of the songs is often made up of a bass-y repetitive guitar sound which is like the drone of death metal but without the oppression. It is, bizarrely, almost reminiscent of Oasis’s last album Dig Out Your Soul. 

Unlike so much modern music, the hypnotic quality of Frid demands your attention. This isn’t background music or radio-fodder, it’s a centre stage musical journey which needs attention in the same way that a classical orchestra does. Although, Frid would be more suited to a live performance at Stone Henge than a concert hall.

The album ends on the nihilistically named ‘Death Will Find a Way’ and it does. The end of the album is like the end of a good book or film – suddenly you’re jolted back into reality and feel sad for your loss. The fact that you felt like you left reality in the first place tells you all you need to know about Frid.

‘Frid’ is out on the 28th August 2015 via Rocket Recordings

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