Album Reviews

Some Became Hollow Tubes: Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups

Members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and thisquietarmy combine for something special.

Over the past decade, there have been many great collaboration albums that have bubbled beneath the surface. Some Became Hollow Tubes is yet another we can add to the list.

Consisting of Eric Quach (thisquietarmy) and Aidan Girt (Godspeed You! Black Emperor), the two reconvene to release their second album, Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups, which follows their fantastic 2019 debut, Keep It in the Ground.

Quach has been guilty of similar aural assaults, both as thisquietarmy and alongside Nadja’s Aidan Baker as Hypnodrone Ensemble. With Girt, the pair unleash a telepathic, seamless synergy.

Meanwhile, Girt really needs no introduction. Spending a good part of his life underpinning the beautiful noise of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, alongside Quach, Girt demonstrates his expansive, cannonball-fizzes from behind the kit to maximum effect.

Dark Passage: In Conversation with Nadja’s Aidan Baker

While SBHT’s song titles reference the cavernous dread of climate change, there’s a humours thread that weaves through the duo’s patchwork, too. Some say that you’re nothing without your sense of humour and both Quach and Girt know this only too well.

Some Became Hollow Tubes - Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups

Consisting of three songs spanning over 42 minutes, Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups is a menacing wall of noise that chokes the apocalypse. Quach and Girt are truly locked in for what is the fiercest surge of hypno space rock you’ll hear all year (sidenote: the album was released digitally last year; however in a world that moves too fast, it’s essential to backtrack – particularly when something this good slips through the net).

Using black holes as inspiration, All I Can Think About Is The Earth on Fire and the Smoky Skies is a rhythmic zonal blast. Girt’s quarry-hunting percussion and Qauch’s warped gusts of sound are like laser beams vaporising everything in sight. It’s intimidation committed to tape.

Droneroom: Whatever Truthful Understanding

And the thunderous black clouds continue to hover during No One Is Okay. Quach’s magnetic noisescapes, the very kind that put you under some sort of wicked spell.

Which feeds into the closing composition, My Eyes Are Itchy and I Can Barely Breathe: the best thing SBHT have produced so far. With a thick pulsating drone, this is all of SBHT’s finest moments rolled into 15 minutes, blending wild orbital noise rock with metallic psychedelia and cold-eyed kraut rock. It’s music exploring new dark spaces.

Filled with savage arcs and brutal clots of sound, Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups is an uncompromising torrent of noise that moves planets. Whether or not it’s billed as a 2021 or 2022 release is merely splitting hairs, for SBHT are one of today’s most vital acts, and their latest offering will be up there with the year’s finest releases.

Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups is out now via Ripchord Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

7 replies on “Some Became Hollow Tubes: Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups”

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