From Atlanta we have progressive indie punk trio GREAT WIDE NOTHING and their third record Hymns For Hungry Spirits, Vol. II. As the title suggests, it’s a sequel to their previous full-length of the same name. The band themselves are independent; the album is entirely self-recorded and has been completely self-released. That’s impressive enough, but it’s even more impressive given the high-quality production we are about to hear.
At first glance, you’ll notice that this album is only five tracks long; you might think “oh ok, so this is a quick listen?”… nope! Each track exceeds over six minutes in length, with the concluding song spanning a full 20 minutes. It’s a very risky move as not everyone can make songs that can keep someone’s attention for that long, but GREAT WIDE NOTHING have this skill mastered. The entirety of the album feels incredibly theatrical, like you’re watching a musical theatre piece, but even then, it’s not as simple as that. Opening track, Blind Eye To A Burning House goes in so many different directions. In the beginning we have theatrics that somehow crosses Tick Tick…Boom! and MEATLOAF before heading into different directions of synths and basslines and dramatic vocals. We’re so taken aback and confused, and we love it.
The Portal And The Precipice then shows off the pop-punk/emo influence of the group as the opening sounds heavily like Feeling This by BLINK-182. Oh, so now are we in punk territory? Once again, nope! The track suddenly moves into glam/synth rock that switches the song into a dramatic performance which again confuses and entrances the listener, although the synth sounds do become somewhat annoying after a while.
A fair summary of this album would be ‘amazingly confusing’. As well as ‘maybe lay off with the synths’. They work on the first song, but they do begin to distract on some tracks. Viper should’ve been a stunning ballad turned rock opera but the synths take the listener out of the moment. Then again, they perfectly suit Inheritor which sounds as if it would fit perfectly on an 80s movie soundtrack, namely Back To The Future, or maybe on THE KILLERS‘ album Day & Age.
And now we’re here: the 20-minute-long-track, To Find The Light, Part Two. It’s a culmination of all the genres and sounds we’ve heard throughout the album, bringing them together to create a fitting finale for the dramatic performance we have just witnessed. You certainly feel the timeframe but not for one moment are you bored; it’s one of those songs you just have to listen to yourself to get the full picture.
Hymns For Hungry Spirits, Vol. II feels like an early draft of some dramatic musician production with songs that span many minutes, but GREAT WIDE NOTHING ensure that you are entertained throughout. Still, maybe they could lay off the synth sounds a bit.
Hymns For Hungry Spirits. Vol II is out now via self-release.
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