Earlier this week, Slint’s Spiderland turned 32, and while it’s yet another indicator that we’re all getting a bit longer in the tooth, the frightening thing is I can almost remember writing about its 30th anniversary, verbatim. Life, well, it’s just madness, really.
So as March draws to a close, it feels fitting to shine the light on a band that is most certainly influenced by the post-hardcore forefathers.
It’s not Slint pastiche that Dublin’s Hubert Selby Jr. Infants really echo on their debut EP, Good Evening, Pricks! It’s the Hubert Selby Jr. Infants, but the preceding band also featuring Brian McMahan: the equally fantastic Squirrel Bait.
Recorded live one day in February this year, on Good Evening, Pricks! It’s the Hubert Selby Jr. Infants, the four-piece – Jamie Grimes (guitars/ vocals), Peter McNally (guitar), Andrew Bushe (drums), and Kunal Nandi (bass) – show us how you to garner the best results from the belief of “first thought, best thought”. No pissing about, just get in and get on with it, and here they produce the kind of diesel fuelled post-hardcore that explodes with hairpin turns and gut-busting chords. All the hallmarks that have most of us approaching 40 shedding tears into our pint glasses.
With wiry riffs and slow-paced build-ups, opening track, How to Steel A Car, harnesses the kind of snarl Pete Searcy committed to tape during Skag Heaven. A great song in its own right, but instantly it also has you reaching for that very record and dropping the needle on Rose Island Road.
Next up is Fangs and a Cape, and there’s more pleasure. Here, HSJI capture the ball tearing ferocity of Unwound’s underappreciated self-titled LP. Then there’s Miracle Whip and Hucklebucker – both products of unabashed Lou Barlow and Sebadoh worship. Here, though, there’s a fresh spin on things, as HSJI give it the hi-fi swagger to great effect.
Ending with Build Me A Monster, HSJI rub shoulders with the ghost of grunge while maintaining their post-hardcore roots with the kind of spit and snarl of another lurking beast that emerges from the shadows: Bitch Magnet.
It rounds out an EP which showcases post-hardcore on the uppers. Ireland has produced several fine releases so far this year, led by Hands Up Who Wants to Die’s Nil All, and, equally, the brilliantly coined Hubert Selby Jr. Infants continue to thrash around the flag from across the ditch.
Good Evening, Pricks! It’s the Hubert Selby Jr. Infants is out now. Purchase from Bandcamp.