Album Review: Hackmonocut - 'The Sum of My Parts'.

At this particular moment, I'm lurched over a greasy keyboard in my work office. The window is open slightly as if it was about to whisper some gauche secret; the morbid rain patters outside with the effusive menace of Phil Collins on acid. Certain times are complimented exceptionally well by certain albums. 'The Sum of My Parts' is one of those such albums.

Hackmonocut is a solo musician hailing from Austria. So, all the distortion, melody and visceral words are entirely his own (minus the female backing singer...I assume that isn't him). This album is in parts many things: filthy, morose, beautiful and - most importantly - exciting. It bounds into life with the garage rock (with a haunting tone) track 'We Better Look Away'. "One by one; can't stop until the last witness is gone" is chilling enough without the backing music.

The following tracks scream a multitude of emotion, each as efficaciously as the other. Hackmonocut's voice on 'Now' is so perfectly desperate sounding, which then turns slightly more aggressive (but still achingly desperate; despondently so) on follow up 'Used Love'. One of the lead singles - 'The Ripper' - drips with melancholy and introduces strings to the fray. Evidently a personal track of love loss, which becomes truly heartbreaking when the female singer comes in to harmonise for the second half of the track.

I could write a fair amount about each individual song as they all have their own signature but brevity is better than fandom for reviewing albums. The importance of Hackmonocut's voice throughout this album cannot be undermined. It creates the mood as much as his fantastic instrumental work does. It's very emotive stuff and for this sort of noir rock he plays, that's exactly what's required. If the album was to be summed up with a single word, then I think "dark" would be perfectly suited. To simply call this album "dark" however, would be both an insult and an act of injustice.

The album closes with 'Days of Roses', which holds a hopeful sound to it musically. All the same, it still holds that gritty resentment that binds these tracks together. That's not to say this is the perfect album or that it's faultless. As my self-indulgent opening lines will tell you, music like this is for certain tastes. If you wake up in the morning eager to share your aureate glow with this optimistic world, then I don't think this is really your sordid bag. Albums that have a mass blanket of appeal across the spectrum tend to lack their own identity; 'The Sum of My Parts' isn't plagued by such a crisis.

Words of Jake Collins

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