Hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (definition: a fear of long words) is a wondrous mess of contradictions. By taking 21st century pop and melding it with The Jesus Lizard’s rhythmic disorientation, The Butthole Surfers’ sonic experimentation and the propulsive beat of dance music, Hypochristmutreefuzz have crafted a debut album of brilliant modernity.

Seemingly mutually exclusive genres have been stitched seamlessly together to birth a Frankenstein’s monster of a record. The production techniques of electronic pop music have been used to modernise and revolutionise classic noise-rock values: rhythmic invention, dissonance and distortion.

Noise music by its very nature is a raw, visceral, adrenaline-fuelled thrill. But even the most arresting of tricks can grow old. Hypochristmutreefuzz are here to sharpen a by now very middle-aged dog’s teeth and teach it some sick backflips.

Where other noise groups rely on sheets of distorted guitars and shredded larynxes to shock their audiences, Hypochristmutreefuzz take a comparatively subtle approach.

Song titles include Gums Smile Blood, Hypochondria and Elephantiasis, a fascination with the medical harking back to the cover art of Nirvana’s In Utero. Couple this fascination with their menacing inversion of pop and the result is an uncomfortable listen, rather than an unpleasant one.

Which is a fine line to walk; the line between uncomfortable and unpleasant. Unpleasant merely shocks. Uncomfortable can intrigue…

Hypochristmutreefuzz, in a vortex of twisted humour and distorted groove, have proven themselves to be a thoroughly intriguing proposition at the very least, beckoning unwary listeners into the underworld with their middle fingers.

The jagged guitar lines and wild synths of opening track Finger, set firmly in concrete by one of rock’s finest rhythm sections, paint vivid sound pictures of a funhouse mirror at a Ke$ha concert; a twisted reflection of the 2010’s pop music run amok.

And the malformed groove that drives Hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia’s closing track Spitter is a jarring contrast to  Ramses Van den Eede’s high-pitched pop-diva-parody vocals. Except you know Ramses isn’t taking the piss. Whatever he’s singing about, he means it down to his core.

But, it’s just past the two minute mark of Elephantiasis that we’re gifted with the moment that sums up the Hypochristmutreefuzz sound; the band segue out of the song’s droning, taunting chorus into a straight-up funk guitar riff that could just as easily have been included on Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk.

Then that ugly, rattling bass comes in, in unison with those shaky synthesiser lines. And it clicks the way Trout Mask Replica does after the sixth listen. It all gels perfectly into a high mark of creativity in rock’s long and not always illustrious history.

It’s got a checkered past, our rock n’ roll does. It’s musical output ranges from shit-stirring, third-eye opening enlightenment to cash-grabbing trite. On Hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, Hypochristmutreefuzz have combined the two to make the former. Living, breathing, thrashing proof that inspiration is down to the individual and how they see the world.

And it’s a helluva world out there. Only humans could create this.

by James Fleming

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