Brooklyn-based cosmic trio White Hills' heavy-riffing space rock was birthed out of Hawkwind's galactic loneliness and knocked off course somewhere by a meteor inhabited by spasmodic guitar soloing aliens. Growing through a stream of near-constant releases, White Hills' internal weirdness and propensity toward noise has escalated, bringing them to So You Are... So You'll Be. Technically speaking, SYASYB is their seventh studio album, recorded with Swans/Sonic Youth producer Martin Bisi at the same studio where they cut their bludgeoning 2012 set Frying on This Rock. After opening with "InWords," a 25-second track of scattered and goofy digital noise, the band explodes into "In Your Room," a primal blast of effected vocals and space-brained sub-metal grooves. The song is a type of announcement, as its nerdy sci-fi tendencies are more Alice Donut than Amon Düül and its brash distortion tones and paranoid rhythms are more Butthole Surfers than Les Rallizes Dénudés. Bursts of oddball synthesizer noise pop up throughout the album as well, providing bridges to and from Dave W.'s relentlessly shredding guitar work on "Forever in Space (Enlightened)" and "Rare Upon the Earth." The sound collage ambience that opens "The Internal Monologue" offers another shade to the band's vast palette of interstellar sounds, tempering some of the more confrontational moments of the album with literal spaciousness, though gurgling synth bubbles are just below the surface of this tune as well. So You Are... So You'll Be sees White Hills getting progressively tighter and deeper into their own breed of high-energy space rock, but also sounds more confident in its weirdness and accentuated noisiness. Between the airless coldness of lunar ambience and the waving freak flag of their most high-power jams, White Hills' voice becomes more defined and more deliberate on this set of songs.
So You Are... So You'll Be Review
by Fred Thomas