Hub's first EP is a self-titled three-track from the Leeds-based five piece formed in early January 2006. The CD has refreshingly lo-fi artwork which you can check out along with the tracks at the band's MySpace.
I would probably argue that as a three-track it should be called a demo but frankly it's far too good for that. In under a year, Hub has gone from conception to the production of a superb piece of ambient indie/post rock.
Hub's songs tick all the right boxes: long, ethereal, layered, intricate and driving. Post rock is easy to do badly, as a genre it can be inherently self-indulgent. I've seen plenty of post rock bands playing eight minute intros where even their best mates are yawning into their pints. Thankfully, although the shortest song is six minutes and the longest is eight and a half, Hub's first EP is engaging and accessible. Not an easy thing to do.
The first track on the EP is "Where You've Gone I Can't Go" and it starts as it means to carry on - chiming guitars with a good helping of reverse delay and washed out drumming. The track builds up and the vocals come in at about the minute mark - distant and highly reminiscent of Mew or Sigur Ros.
There are solid indie influences in this track making Hub more accessible than many other bands of this genre. Hub will probably hate me for comparing them but ... there's a good bit of Snow Patrol's less poppy songs in here and the track is much better for it. The song gently rises and falls relying on dynamics for its changes; melodies swirling and dying out until it finishes in a satisfyingly Mogwai-esque outro - all frantic guitars and cymbals. Excellent.
"Armour" starts with what sounds like a recap of the first song's outro although more up-tempo. An interesting idea but it makes the song a little too similar. The quality of the melodies, performances and songwriting is still top notch though with some catchy and memorable lines: "he only talks to thespians" particularly comes to mind. "Armour" builds to well behaved Sigur Ros-like climaxes, peaking higher than "Where you've gone", then diving and soaring again and ending almost reluctantly on a sparse bass riff.
"Following the Flood" wraps up the EP with another excellent, ethereal, down-tempo, sprawling and poignant track.
The only real downsides to the EP are the lack of variation in sound from track to track and that the tracks are particularly derivative of the bands Hub cite as influences, in particular Mogwai, Sigur Ros and Mew.
However, as a first EP, this is partly to be expected and the fact that they have pulled it off with such style in such a short amount of time shows a band with some serious potential.
Hub is already ahead of most of the local competition (and there are some very good Leeds-based post rock bands). With more originality and variety they could be up there with the genres front runners.