The cover of ‘Hypermagic Mountain’ looks like watching The Wizard of Oz in a quarter of a second, with a colour scheme so garish it makes Joseph’s technicolour dreamcoat look like a tweed jacket after a house fire. The record inside though is far from the kid’s-colouring-book cover. This is rock music unlike you or anyone has ever heard it. The word “mental” inevitably springs to mind. There’s very few things about Lightning Bolt that isn’t completely bonkers. At their gigs, they play on the floor rather than the stage and start a few seconds after the support act finishes causing everyone in a 100-metre radius to jump out of their skin in shock. The drummer’s arms move so fast they’d probably fly off and hit someone in the eye if he didn’t staple them to his shoulder; coupled with a bassist that sounds like the illegitimate offspring of Steve Albini and a chainsaw, the pair of them are truly monstrous. On the rare occasions that you can hear drummer Brian Chippendale’s vocals, they come through a wall of sound so thick, he may as well shout into a bin-bag full of pillows. It’s extremely hard to believe that the only instruments on the album bar vocals are drums and bass guitar; so loud and so full is the sound that comes from the speakers. The sheer confusion of it all is overwhelming, and yet among the din, you can hear bizarre avant-garde jazz influences and the riffs are likely to be stuck in your head for days. Throughout its 50-minutes, the din hardly ever stops, then it ends suddenly and you’re left feeling beaten and bruised but thrilled. It’s a vicious fist-fight in sound; it makes Death From Above 1979 sound like Nick Drake.
Even if it is a little one-note at times, it seems to function as a singular piece. It’s definitely not for everyone, but its absurdly nimble musicianship coupled with tumultuous volumes and break-neck speeds make it both unique, mind blowing, unnerving and flat-out magnificent for a lot of it. This is noise-rock at its noisiest, purest and best. Faint-hearted need not apply.
Listen to this: pumped full of adrenalin and Lucozade
Key Track: Captain Caveman