By Jake Paxton
Irish post-grunge rockers The Altered Hours come forth with debut effort with Not Sorry In Heat; a title one could speculate is a nod at their obvious emotional hurricane that surrounds them, one that I found myself being sucked into. The record, also being released on vinyl on January 29th, is a mosaic of influence calling back UK Goth and post punk circa 1980 and modern bands like Wild Nothing and Savages. It’s brimming with atmosphere and the harmonies between male and female lead vocalists are chilling.
The album begins with "Who's Saving Who", and rockets out of the gate with fast, moody bliss. It's around four minutes and always seems to end too soon. On a personal note, it's my most repeated song. The harmonies specifically remind me of Wild Nothing's "Gemini", and a more reverb laden "Sunflower" by Low. "Way of Sorrow" features chuggy, distorted bass and powerful drumming. The tempo has dropped but the energy is still palpable and introduces their format of songs running around 2-2.5 minutes.
"Rotting” is an odd choice for the record. It's literally a minute-and-a-half of droning guitar noise with the least context of any track I've ever heard. It's a bit pretentious, or maybe was put in to have a ten song album instead of a nine track album. Either way, it's a bit disappointing. "Silver Leather" is the single from the album picking up the pace again. It's danceable majesty and makes you want to dress all in black and sacrifice something in the woods. There's a lot of beautiful noise featured in here, and I want to emphasize atmosphere is a big part of what makes this a monumental record.
From there, the danceable post-punk vibe dissipates into a somber, almost folk-like haze of minimal percussion, minimal harmony, and minimal writing in general. The female lead vocalist, as well as the male vocalist, each take a song on their own and you feel as though there was this beautiful relationship that has been lost and they each now have the stage to sing their own woe. The record seems to whimper with the sorrow of lovers gone astray. You have the sense of a beautiful reunion when they come back together for the emotional ballad "Laughing on Their Knees" and you feel the relationship has matured in a way.
All in all, powerful and moving are a few choice words to describe Not Sorry In Heat. Listening directly after a breakup may result in mixed results, potentially further depression. Sonically, I was very impressed, and it feels good to feel something, always. The album is set to release on Friday, January 29th in the midst of winter. The single is "Silver Leather," but I encourage you to listen to the album in order to hear the story for yourself.