Pitchfork review of SRA’s HOUND “Out of Time”!

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By Paul Thompson

This year, for Halloween, Hound frontman Perry Shall went as AC/DC’s Angus Young. I don’t mean to say Shall merely “went as” Angus Young for Halloween; what I mean is, from the socks-and-shorts to the upturned brim, this dude was Angus Young. I bring this up to underscore Shall’s greatest strength as a frontman: he has a real knack for inhabiting the look and feel of a very particular era of rock’n’roll, the post-prog, pre-NWOBHM intermingling of hard-rock and proto-punk. At no point during Hound’s Out of Time—a triangulation of “Highway Star”, the first few Queens of the Stone Age LPs, and a not-unhealthy fixation with one Lemmy Kilmister—do Shall and company attempt to flaunt tradition, to push well-defined boundaries, to reinvent the wheel. Rather, the band’s looking to get back to something elemental: burly, bongwater-splattered rock’n’roll, the kind designed to sound particularly righteous coming from a pinstriped AMC Gremlin.


More than anything, Out of Time is unrelenting; just over 27 minutes of low rumbles and snaky leads, pausing only for the delicately fingerpicked “Colintro”—courtesy of bassist Colin McGinniss, also of None More Black—just past the halfway point. Shall’s not a flashy player, neither as swaggering as Angus or as restless as “Fast” Eddie. Still, as a student of the classics, he’s picked up just the right combination of attack and restraint, and Out of Time does lean every bit as well as mean. Taken together, the album’s arid production—a kind of bleary, mid-fi tunnelvision—and near-monomaniacal drive are transportive, beamed in directly from the middle of a long, dark night spent blasting down some backwater at 90 MPH, lids heavy, heart pounding.

Leadoff single and snarling highlight “Little One” plunges a particularly toothsome Shall riff headlong into a roaring McGinniss bassline. Better still is “I Can’t Take It No More”, an anxious, hard-charging punker that finds an unusually excitable-sounding Shall screaming his way around the chorus. He’s not exactly a brazen presence behind the mic; throughout plenty of Out of Time, he coats his voice in a thin layer of fuzz, or deadpans his way through his delivery, allowing certain lines to get stuck in the surrounding sludge. Even at full howl, though, Shall’s never in any danger of overpowering these monstrous riffs, and Out of Time sounds best whenever he drops the inhibitions and fully leans into these songs. To that end, the Sabbath-indebted slowdown—”Houdini”, “Stupid Dreams”—sandwiching the outlying “Colintro” is a slight momentum-sapper; they don’t plod, exactly, but they don’t quite get the blood going like the scrappier stuff surrounding them.

Lyrically, Out of Time isn’t much to chew on. While Shall smartly sidesteps the dunderheaded machismo too often associated with capital-R rock revivalism, what he offers in its stead—anxiety, boredom, and self-doubt, more or less—is only a mild improvement. “If god was real, I think she’d be disgraced,” Shall sings on “Stupid Dreams”; it’s maybe the single most intriguing thought to be found on Out of Time, one Shall all but leaves unexplored. Still, this de-emphasis on lyrics is in keeping with tradition; despite what your uncle’s trying to tell you with that wrongheaded “Led Zeppelin vs. Nicki Minaj” meme he keeps slapping on your Facebook wall, the hard rock canon Hound are harkening back to has a long, storied tradition of dumb, overwrought, or otherwise beside-the-point lyrics. At this point, Hound seemingly aren’t all that interested in toppling their influences or killing their idols; instead, they’re trying to inhabit them, to pile up enough riffs to tap into that deathless feeling of plowing down the road, windows down, speakers blaring, the night ahead of them. That much, they nail.