Things change; it’s just the way of life. It’s an inevitability that is completely unavoidable, and something that many find to difficult to face, while others embrace it. One such area of indifference for some, is the fact that people (their likes/dislikes, personalities, direction, dreams and desires) are a centrical force behind this particular point. The individuals who perform in musical acts are the same as anyone else, and sometimes the choice of direction they choose to go in with their sound changes. South Carolina’s Hundredth’s latest release entitled, RARE, is a prime example of this.
Up until now the genre tags that would have usually been associated with a band like Hundredth would have been classified as hardcore, melodic hardcore, or even metalcore. Now that has become an entirely different story. With their newest release, the group have changed their sound in a major way, leaning much more on the side of shoegaze. This was an unforeseen new direction, and one that has already received many mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. In a recent interview, vocalist Chadwick Johnson was quoted as stating on their previous sound that he “just swallowed it, because it’s a paycheck.”, to which some were off put, or even took offence. Later he clarified the messaged he had intended to get across stating “…we didn’t want to keep doing the same thing over and over…we drained our “hardcore” vein on Free. After it, we felt unfulfilled and boxed in…”. This is a sentiment that I’m sure most (regardless of musical taste) could understand, or at the very least sympathize with. Nobody wants to repeat the same thing (of any nature), over and over until it gets so stale that you just can’t stand it anymore.
When Hundredth released the first single, “Neurotic”, some may even have assumed that they hadn’t entirely left their heavier roots. The song was still fairly fast paced, had just enough of an intense element and would lead some to believe that this was just one of the softer tracks on the record. This is not the case. RARE embodies the true definition of shoegaze, but adds just the slightest touch of an edgier, almost hardcore-esque vibe, as to not border too close on the “too soft” end of the scale. The perfectly timed palm muting, the transition between a slower paced rhythm to a quickened rate of drumming, and even the odd scream still used (albeit as background vocals), gives this album a roughened edge over the Brit-bands this genres namesake was based on. The first song, “Vertigo”, was a perfect choice in which to open the album with. It starts off slow and calm. Johnson’s voice blends beautifully with the harmonic elements of the verse, which transitions perfectly into the ever so slightly more frantic progression of the chorus. When “Suffer” hits your eardrums, your faced with an almost melancholy force majeure that takes over your entire being. “Departure”; a fitting name for a final track, and one suitable for a bittersweet ending full of ambiance and daydream-worthy sounds. The only prevalent qualm for this new foray is the fact that the vocals blend in almost too much with the instrumentals of the album. This though, is almost the point behind the shoegaze genre.
This album is perfect for those late night drives to where ever. It’s smooth, melodic, catchy as hell, and at times almost ambient. Whether you’re sitting around a bonfire, laying in bed pondering the sweeter things in life (relying more on the sound, than the subject matter), or hitting the highways, heading up to the serene beauty that can only be found somewhere “up north”, this album will have you tapping your feet and humming along to your heart’s content. Sure, Hundredth may have strayed pretty far away from what they once were, but that’s change. That’s life.