Hookworms are one of the most overwhelming live forces in the UK, their huge waves of sound shaking many a venue to its foundations over the past five years or so. The impact on onlookers is a lasting one. As well as their own fierce spectacle, those scamps have also been known to morph in to an LCD Soundsystem cover band from time to time. We’re not kidding, you know.
On comeback single ‘Negative Space’ those nods to LCD are apparent on what is their most danceable offering to date, breaking through in to a groove-consumed territory that the likes of ‘On Leaving’ and ‘Radio Tokyo’ only prodded at. The robotic, Kraftwerk-esque murmurings of the intro feel more playful than we might’ve expected from the Leeds group, and as the track expands the bright energy sees them embracing a poppier realm.
But perhaps most tellingly, with MJ’s vocal higher in the mix, the emotional depth of Hookworms is no longer buried in the depths of distortion. There’s a quite beautiful yearning to his performance on this return, one that’s readily engaging given its clarity. He wears his sadness on his sleeve, singing of a presence no longer there, asking over and over “how long’s forever?” When played off against the euphoric backdrop, it creates this tug-of-war of feeling that you can’t help but dive head first in to. Hookworms have turned a corner: strap yourself in.