2020 Year In Review: Hypoluxo

Imagine if a parallel-universe version of the band Television wrote songs about actual televisions with lines like “tell me all the things that you see in me / can it be explained through the TV? / cuz that’s all I know.” Now listen to “Ridden” and imagine no more.  

On Hypoluxo’s third album which is A) self-titled, B) self-possessed, C) self-reliant, or D) all of the above the Brooklyn-based quartet makes the kind of post-punk-inflected guitar-oriented music that critics love to refer to as “angular.” It’s a fitting description but let’s face it there’s lots of different kinds of angles. Any geometrist worth her weight in protractors will tell you there’s acute angles and right angles and obtuse angles just for starters. On Hypoluxo, Hypoluxo has all these angles covered and more.

For sharp-and-severe acute angles take a listen to “Night Life” with its martial drum beat, slithering bassline and twin-guitar sheer heart attack. The song’s ricocheting melodies (headphones recommended) capture something of the anticipation and the anxiety, the potential desperation and potential catharsis of its subject matter, culminating in a frenzied freakout on the dancefloor.

Next, for some obtuse angles check out “Shock” which confronts the vague but pervasive sense of fear hanging in the air as of late. “Well it’s a SHOCK / working up / to realizing this is not a DREAM” is the immaculately articulated opening gambit, going on to describe a mind stressed and dulled by 2020 PTSD. Guitars circle overhead for much of the song, like a flock of angry-but-one-hopes-not-predatory birds, with the fog finally broken by the Rent Is Too Damn High refrain in the song’s coda.

And finally, on “Nimbus” Hypoluxo gives the listener the right angle (heh heh) on how weathermen (and weatherladies let’s be fair) are the scourge of humanity or at least one of them anyway. And wouldn’t you know it, the 1% own all the umbrellas. Michael Stipe once posed the question: “Should we talk about the weather [or] should we talk about the government?” But Hypoluxo make it abundantly clear that they’re one and the same thing. So let’s talk about both and hope for better weather in 2021.
(Jason Lee)