Back in the day, Hypnolovewheel were never one my go-to bands, but after re-investigating their music many years after the fact, I'm finding there was more there for me than I realized. The Long Island quartet exuded no shortage of typical indie rock appeal, yet they brought to the table a psych undercurrent not to mention sonically dense song structures that most of their contemporaries couldn't be bothered with. With it's swervy, flanged guitar splay and just enough sass to keep things interesting, "Wow" from a 1991 7," crystallizes Hypno's prevailing modus operandi in the span of two and a half minutes. The tune would later materialize on their Angel Food album, with the more adventurous song-thing on the flip, "KMG-365" remaining exclusive to this wax.
And speaking of wax, the guys would delve into considerably more ambitious terrain a year later on the four-sided 7" ep, Sybil. The premise is simple, one side to showcase songs from each individual band member, but the material itself is anything but.
Stephen Hunking kicks things off via the buzzing "Beside Inside Me," a sublime slice of hypnotic haziness and mid-fi persuasion, bejeweled with a great hook. Very reminiscent of what Edsel was doing at the time I might add. It's fittingly followed-up by a noisome rendition of George Harrison's "Wah Wah." Guitarist Dave Ramirez's side of the story is by far the most abstract and oblique - five very brief and predominantly instrumental, avant sketches, roughly in the same wheelhouse as early Sonic Youth, and more vaguely Wire. Next up is Hypnolovehwheel frontman himself Dan Cuddy spewing all kinds of weirdness and eccentricities, employing cello, violin and whatnot. Interesting, but nothing in his three song suite really does the job for me. Drummer Peter Walsh rounds Sybil out with two jangly, melodic nuggets "Easy Journey to Other Planets" and "The Thin Ice," both of which are modest but engaging. In fact, Walsh's songs are my favorites on here and I could easily for an album's worth of where these came from.
I should note that last year I posted a single by a Hypnolovewheel/Yo La Tengo offshoot called a Very Special Pillow which you can read about and download here.
Beside Inside Me, Wah Wah
KMG-366, Down With People, Giant Marble, Sanatarium, Planetarium
Jean Grey, Operation Brainwave, Guarantee
Easy Journey to Other Planets, The Thin Ice
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