Copy Haho’s solitary single and subsequent debut EP in 2007 announced them as a band very much worth keeping an eye on. A young bunch from Stonehaven who sculpted that perennial Scottish trait of discontent, and small town discontent at that, into a flickering wall of intricate guitar lines and stuttering drums propelled by Joe Hearty’s downtrodden but strangely optimistic observations on life, love and elusive happiness. So now that small town life has been replaced by life on tour and long overdue album recording sessions, is there any chance they’ve become a touch less bleak?
Well considering that opener ‘Factory Floor’ begins with the line “I’m feeling bitter, but I don’t what I’m bitter about” probably not, and indeed it’s the kind of sentiment which recurs throughout the album. This track in particular though is delivered with a kind of joyous energy which makes it easy to empathise with the misery at its core. Previous limited singles ‘Demons & Gods’ and ‘Wrong Direction’ are the only old songs to return, making it clear that they’ve poured a lot of energy in to making the album more than a retread of old demos, and both of those are also slightly altered versions which help them slot nicely into the bigger picture. The former being the most memorable, with a nifty little guitar breakdown supplementing Hearty’s lyrics: “Do you remember that catalytic reaction”. Catalytic being an apt description for the band, as it often feels like it is a friction between the different instruments which fuels the spark that is the essence of their energy.