La Hell Gang

Thru Me Again

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On Thru Me Again, La Hell Gang trade the garage rock of their debut album Just What Is Real for psychedelic sounds that straddle the line between stoner rock and shoegaze. These hazy, slow-burning songs shimmer like mirages, and even the relatively short tracks seem to bend time and space to their own stately whims: the propulsive opener "Inside My Fall" and later highlight "Last Hit" both feel twice as big as they actually are thanks to their insistent riffs. Still, the Chilean band's massive guitars are more meditative than heavy, and there's an elusive quality to Thru Me Again that adds to its allure. La Hell Gang do a skillful job of drawing listeners into the album and readying them for longer excursions like "The Beginning Remains the End," an eight-minute showcase for their desert vistas that recalls greats such as Bardo Pond and Dead Meadow. Even during Thru Me Again's densest moments, they usually include enough hooks for listeners to grab onto, particularly on the soft-focus stoner pop of "Her Way Has Come" and "Sweet Dear"'s alternately honeyed and sinister drones. Interestingly, the band often fares best when it keeps things light; there's more mystery, and possibilities, in the pretty drift of tracks like "Everywhere I Go" and "So High" than in "What You Want You Got It," a churning workout full of riffs and sinister whispers that circle each other but don't go much of anywhere. Thru Me Again sounds best when the volume is cranked up, which is just about the only thing it has in common with Just What Is Real. While La Hell Gang need to work on finding their own distinctive niche within this sound, this album is an enjoyable step in that direction.

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