Hired Muscle ‘The Last Minute’ – Album review

Hired Muscle ”“ ‘The Last Minute’ (Fortissimo)
Amongst the clatter and scatter of guitars lie a jumble of lyrics that I desperately want to quote, one after the other and somehow pass that off as a review. We all work so hard, steam scooting from earholes, trying to describe a sound (yes, yes, architecture, dancing, etc etc) but sometimes, I just think”¦ I just think”¦ Well, I just think”¦ if people could just hear these lyrics, that would be just wonderful. Because they’re clever. Simple. But clever. And awkward. Like life.

Like, if you asked me to review a Bill Hicks CD, I wouldn’t describe the laughter to you.
But there’s more to it than lyrics. In this sense, they are a little like Bilge Pump (Leeds DIY scene stalwarts). They are a lyrical wonder. But you don’t dance to the lyrics. Limbs are not hurled in admiration of their linguistic skills.

She was packing heat (some heat!) / I acted distracted / And stared at my feet /And stumbled over the street.
Chaos reigns in the guitar department. The drums keep up, valiantly and riffs are celebrated with brevity.
You can’t / keep me / in the dark.

So simple, but so, urgh”¦ powerful.

Hired Muscle are another branch of the Bletchley scene, beloved by its siblings here in Leeds. With toes and fingers in Action Beat (the only band who have compelled [nay, forced] me to use the word ”˜testicle’ in a review) and Dawn Chorus, they extol the virtues of ”˜can do’ and ”˜don’t care’ in all the right places. But more than anything, they remind me, somewhat tearfully, of the now-deceased This Ain’t Vegas, for their cocky humour and for sounding like they stumbled on a melody and scraped it off their scabby trainers before throwing into a song.
‘The Last Minute’ recalls a time when we used to wander round school singing “I’m just a boy with a new haircut and it’s a VERY NICE HAIRCUT!” We never took Malkmus into an English Lit class and tried to convince the world he was a poet, but moments like those made Pavement near-perfect and Hired Muscle have that same charm, for sure. And ‘The Last Minute’ is going to be this summer’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. I want it echoing round the school corridors and bouncing off the ramps at the skate park.
Pass it on, folks, pass it on.

Head to Hired Muscle homepage to download three album tracks for free…

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