This The Altered Hours article was written by Ellie Scott, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Siobhan Scarlett.
‘In Heat Not Sorry’ is the first album from the Cork based five piece ‘The Altered Hours’, and was recorded at the Funkhaus Studio in Berlin, where the band had previously worked with Fabien Leseure on their ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’ EP. The album retains a flavour of Eastern Bloc misery in its clouded dark tones – the bass line often takes a sinister journey and the sound is packed with reverb and distortion. Despite being a little rough and raw in the mix, it’s a promising debut.
The album starts in an assertive fashion, the first four tracks providing a striking opening. ‘Who’s Saving Who’ hints at indie intentions, a jangling guitar contrasted with a smattering of electric screech. Then ‘Ways Of Sorrow’ thuds in – it’s a cracker of a track. It bounces along, sliced through with a squeal of off-kilter guitar and a moaning vocal. ‘Rotting’ is a blasting instrumental, presumably named after the effect it has on teeth. ‘Silver Leather,’ the song name apparently derived from the album cover in which Iggy Pop wears such an item of clothing, has a creepy bass line, overlaid with big guitars and sweet vocals. There’s plenty of fug and grunge here.
If the first part of the album is upfront, the latter half slows and opens up into a more reflective space, the delicate vocals of Cathal Mac Gabhann and Elaine Howley becoming more evident. ‘Saviours’ is the cross over track, starting with a simple piano line, then letting the powerful guitar have its way. ‘Virgin Sleeve’ and ‘Citadel’ are much more melodic and delicate. So as the initial hit of the post punk band fades away, the change of pace is well managed, allowing the layers of sound and rhythms to become more evident with each listen.
There’s a fine line between likeable grunginess and dislikable dirge. ‘Birds’ and ‘Laughing On Their Knees’ are tracks that let the album down slightly, as they fall into the latter category. However, the band are apparently very good live, and there’s enough in this album to persuade the punter that parting with the door money would be worth it.
‘In Heat Not Sorry’ is out on the 29th January via Art For Blind Records and Penske Recordings.