Year Of The Witch

(Captured Tracks)


It sounds like HXXS have had it pretty tough this year. Having spent six months of it living out of a van while they toured to support their debut EP MKDRONE, everything appeared to be going great until their completed roadside recordings were knicked. As a result, the version of Year of the Witch that you see before you is actually more a tribute to a lost original, the band having to re-record it from memory and to a brutally crunched timeline.

Unsurprisingly then, HXXS describe their first full-length for Captured Tracks as a record “born of anguish”. Sonically, at least, they aren’t kidding. If Gavin Neves and Jeannie Colleene ever had pop sensibilities, then the last 12-months has hacked them off with a rusty knife. What remains is a mutilated form of electronica, fractured and torn with discordant noise. A lot of Year of the Witch might nod towards pop, but mostly the songs throb and sting like an exposed nerve.

Perhaps due to their misadventures on the road, the album also finds HXXS in an embittered mood. Like a lot of art created in the aftermath of the 2016 US election, the songs speak of a nation divided. Still, cleverly Neves and Colleene have turned their rage inwards instead of outwards. The result reflects the new fault-lines that have been driven through almost every family in America. With a profoundly cynical edge, the duo paints a picture of grievances that fester like open wounds. A new America where the ‘bones can’t be placed back where they’re buried’.

By hook or by crook, HXXS have somehow managed to create an unerringly accurate-feeling depiction of the unease and entrenchment that lies at the heart of the West’s current culture wars. For that reason, YOTW might not be the easiest of listens, but it feels like a vital one.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.

If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.