Recording information: Behind Jake's Old House.
Australian post-punk quartet Hierophants seem to inhabit a world plagued with doubt and uncertainty. Their jittery, organ-driven songs contain lyrics about needing help, not wanting to leave one's room, conspiracy theories, and drastic mood changes during which all hope is immediately lost. Musically, the group's simple, catchy songs seem like they're verging on toppling if things get too stressful. The group makes the best of their anxiety, though; this nervous sense of exhilaration keeps them going. The group doesn't seem to settle on one particular musical style, and they definitely don't sound like the typical garage punk band on Goner Records, the Memphis-based label who co-released this album along with Australia's Aarght! Records. The album starts with a mangled Chuck Berry riff and later delves into Krautrock ("Nothing Neu") and shuffling disco-punk ("Taste"). "Change" is a tribute to the legendary misanthropic Scottish lo-fi band Country Teasers, even mentioning their singer Ben Wallers by name, as well as his "boycott the studio" credo. The album's best moment is "Nervous Tic," which perfectly channels early Devo in order to express tension and frustration, and features the most ambitious arrangement on the entire album, riddled with herky-jerky tempo changes and time signatures. Songs like "321" and "Hail Stones" play it more straightforward, with direct, uptempo rhythms, but again, the group's buzzing organ sound sets them apart from the legions of other garage rock bands out there. Unpredictable and a bit volatile, Parallax Error is a scattered but thrilling album. ~ Paul Simpson