I regret that I kinda missed that a new Hooded Fang album had already dropped as I loved their earlier albums. Dynasty House came out a few weeks ago on the band's own Daps Records label and the release is a fine album, and one that is perhaps a bit noisier and more raucous (in a good way) than the band's previous records.
Hooded Fang -- Dan Lee, April Aliermo, Lane Halley, D.Alex Meeks, and Jon Pappo -- have used this record to offer up something personal as each song uses lyrics that speak of the experiences of the players' family-members in migrating to Canada from Germany, The Philippines, and Suriname as a sort of basis for the tracks. Opener "Queen Of Agusan Del Norte" rattles with a sort of vibe that is pitched somewhere between old Pavement sides and Eighties Fall singles, while the wildly-percussive "Sister And Suns" bounces along with a coiled energy that blends late-period Sebadoh-style indie with a touch of prog. The combination sounds an odd one here but, trust me, it works. Elsewhere, the epic "Nene Of The Night" offers up the loveliest melody on Dynasty House even if the band's wonderfully-warped pop-sense remains the driver of the tune, while "Donamelia" chimes in the manner of some of the brightest and more raucous recent Radiohead numbers, the players here in command of the tune throughout. The album closes on the bouncy "Mama Pearl" which, oddly, mixes a slight techno-ish drum pattern with guitar riffs and bass-lines that run rampant in a looser manner than anything this band has attempted prior to this.
Full of risky moves that (largely) pay off, Dynasty House advances the very sound of this band in a substantial way. Hooded Fang have taken some chances here but the material is expansive enough that it never loses focus and a listener remains engaged throughout. That these players are adept at riding these harder hooks in a nearly jazz fusion fashion is another plus to what we're hearing here. Dynasty House is a big, bold record.
[Photo: Mounir Chami]