Wollongong’s emerging music scene is humbling to say the least; if Lou Reed was correct in saying “what comes is better than what came before”, then we can surely expect big things for the future of Wollongong’s music life. Fewer restrictions plus fewer venue options make for a more communal vibe that only a few places in Sydney could match (R.I.P. Blackwire Records).
Nothing beats going to a place like Rad Bar or URGE and watching a band play on the floor. It was at a venue just like this that I attended my first HOON show.
After leaving two trails of piss, noise and booze across the east coast, HOON are laying groundwork for their debut LP with a fiery lead single named Burnt Out Fire.
What began as an “accident” in late 2013, the scruffy, drunk, and reckless HOON has since become a much familiar staple around the Wollongong region. Their 2014 EP We Are Hoon saw the group burst onto the gigging circuit, hungry to achieve something great.
Yet HOON were perhaps too unwitting and outrageous to focus on much more than a wild time. This remains a trait that’s commonly reflected throughout their eccentric live performances.
So far they’ve shared the stage with the Dune Rats, High Tension, Clowns, Drunk Mums, The Hard-Ons, and The Meanies. Meanwhile, upon returning from their Indonesian tour with Mangrove Jack, HOON have been hard at work on their debut 14-track self titled LP.
Burnt Out Fire is the first single from the upcoming album, providing a teaser for what lies ahead.
Burnt Out Fire spans over a solid three minutes, boasting an up-front charm free of any bells and whistles. It’s bare bones garage rock with subtle pop blemishes; a sound that typically makes waves around the summer period.
Breda’s vocals keep the grit in the slur, a jaded style that seeps a manic passion. Orion’s guitar work remains modest, a back-to-basics approach which provides only what’s needed. Meanwhile, the percussion remains heavy throughout, delivering a thrashing backbone to tightly bind each of the elements on offer.
Lyrically Burnt Out Fire tosses you in the gutter of a dejected subconscious, tainted by the impurities of uncertain apprehension (“I don’t know why and I sure as hell just don’t know how”). The journey begins with what I suspect is a trip down the rabbit hole (“Pyramids and prisms/Fill my mind”) that slowly ventures into the heart of an exhausted soul (“Now I’m blunt, yet bleak/And it makes my limbs go weak”).
There’s a definite sense of struggle throughout, as Breda battles a hostile relationship with love and the twisting of his own deceptions.
Sonically Burnt Out Fire is a deviation from the HOON I’m accustomed too. The riff itself is likeable, even bordering on indie rock at times. Nevertheless, going back to Lou Reed’s sentiment, change is good.
I trust most will be pleased with the direction HOON have headed in, as it still resonates that outlandish charisma we’ve grown to love. Perhaps HOON have many surprises awaiting us among the fourteen unreleased tracks just on the horizon. For now, we can only hope.
In the meantime, make sure you catch a HOON live show in the not so distant future. This June, the collective will be making their way along the east coast yet again to show off their brand new single, and hype their upcoming album release.
Moreover, there’s always the possibility of catching a new tune or two, or three…
Thurs 1 June – Hamilton Station, Newcastle
Fri 2 June – Ric’s Bar, Brisbane
Wed 7 June – Bar Open, Melbourne
Fri 9 June – Woody’s Bar, Melbourne
Sat 17 June – Lobrow Gallery and Bar, Canberra
Fri 30 June – The Townie, Newtown