By The Hickey Underworld
The press release that accompanies The Hickey Underworld's new single isn't particularly encouraging. What is "symbolically-loaded, talismanic, pseudo-Masonic artwork," and what has it got to do with 'Blonde Fire' anyway? And, as if that mouthful wasn't enough, said press release also includes the words "post-modern," "sexploitation" and reassures us that The Hickey Underworld's website is "a mystical world full of symbols and hidden messages, a mystical state of the world representation."
After confusing us with their big words, The Hickey Underworld's 'Blonde Fire' turns out to be surprisingly unpretentious. Underpinned by rumbling drums, 'Blonde Fire' marches along at an invigorating, no-nonsense pace. It moves swiftly through various passages, at first experimenting with scratchy, awkwardly-shaped riffs and blasts of distorted guitar-fuzz, before opening into a more melodic soundscape, thanks to a heavier use of bass. Towards the end, 'Blonde Fire' begins to sound positively groovy, as the bass shimmies and throbs away in the background. Frontman Younes Faltakh's voice also softens as the song progresses, letting up on the screechy, kooky edge and slipping into a hooky falsetto that'll get fixed firmly in your head.
'Blonde Fire' will have you convinced that The Hickey Underworld are doing themselves a disservice; look behind all the straight-faced pretentiousness, and 'Blonde Fire' is snappy alt-rock with experimental flourishes that all feel completely natural to the song, rather than laboured, purposefully obscure added extras.