Hudson - Teenage Thrill
(Team 4 Action/PIAS)
By: Brett Spaceman
“Support your local poet.”
This is the printed on the inlay of Idlewild’s The Remote Part album and the phrase always had resonance with me, probably because of that albums devastating climactic title track. It then took on a second meaning after I move to Belgium and discovered that the next town was inhabited by a really interesting musician. Pierre Lejeune was making records under the moniker of The Oslo Deadtrash Project, an eclectic mixture of guitar, retro electronics and morose vocals; I found it stylish and hugely enjoyable as can be rediscovered via the links attached. (below).
Lejeune has now returned to rock and a full band setup with Hudson. I tease Pierre mercilessly by continually comparing Hudson’s stuff to Sugar, Bob Moulds glossily produced, post – Hüsker Dü outfit. It’s meant to be a compliment. But I should be careful. There’s more to Hudson than reference points. The music fits nicely alongside the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Nirvana and the aforementioned Sugar. And yet Lejeune infuses his work with wildly imaginative ideas, oblique lyrics and a brooding, seething intensity that is almost Cobain like. The result is a slew of shining alt-rock anthems as backdrop to Lejeune’s sensitive stream of consciousness. This sets Hudson apart. This is their calling card.
The title track has a hook to die for and is the first of many. If ‘Teenage Thrill’ sounds like a lost song from the Copper Blue recording sessions, ‘Sunset Riot’ trawls the best of grunge referencing only the very best and liking what it finds. ‘Let Me Blow Your Heart’ is The Replacements with Jimmy Page on guitars while the soaring ‘Avalanche’ has that ‘grunge with shoegaze tendencies’ (or gazer with grunge tendencies) reminiscent of Sonic Youth or Catherine Wheels Chrome period. Wow.
TODP fans fear not. Lejeune trademark melancholic leanings haven’t fully been left behind as evidenced on the gentle closing track ‘Costumes’ and on my personal favourite, ‘Archetype’ which revisits Bernard Sumner esque guitar work of something like ‘Leave Me Alone’ and gives us the albums most memorable chorus.
Yet having name checked some of USA’s most seminal grunge acts, it’s a UK band that comes clearest to mind listening to this album. Scotland’s Idlewild, already mentioned at the beginning of the piece, forged their own identity on the back of amped up REM comparisons. When I hear ‘Everything Is Wasted’, I think of Idlewild, the promise that they showed on Hope Is Important before the masterpiece that was 100 Broken Windows, proving that heavy music can still be catchy, sensitive, wrong-footing and utterly wonderful. The Spaceman in the valley is supporting his local poet. Get on this album and see what all the fuss is about.