Belgian rockers Hitch are only recently making some waves in the U.S., but the band already have five albums under their belt, making them anything but new to the more hardcore side of the indie scene. Their hard-hitting brand of rock brings to mind The Paper Chase (it was actually mixed by John Congleton), who's record I just recently reviewed, but I also hear bits of The Jesus & Mary Chain and I'm sure those of you more familiar with the genre could probably fill in plenty of your own RIYL's. The band's new album, Clair. Obscur, is raw and urgent, using rough guitar riffs and edgy vocals to create a noisy, unpolished sound that makes for some great moments on the record and has served as a good introduction to Hitch.
Hitch keeps things fairly straightforward for most of the record, using brief blasts of punk energy with noise rock riffs for an explosive effect. Openers "Art Nouveau!" and "Carbon Wheels" set the tone, all spiky guitars and sharp percussion under singer Mich Decruyenaere's unhinged, shouted vocals. Occasionally, the band takes a stylstic detour, like the gloomy "This Is Where It Ends" or the bizarre, spoken-word tune "The Day Kid C Bit The Dust," but the music generally follows the pattern established by the first few tracks. Though many of the songs on Clair. Obscur are fairly brief, the record ends with the six-minute "Burn This Place" and the seven-minute "The Paper Beast," two of the better cuts that give Hitch more time to show off their ability to combine ambient and shoegaze elements into their more upbeat and immediate hardcore sound.
I don't believe I've heard much music originating from Belgium, but Hitch are certainly proof that some good things are happening there. To hear some of Hitch's latest tunes, head over to the band's MySpace page or check out their homepage for more info.