‘Negative Space’, the first single released from ‘Microshift’ was one of the most brilliantly surprising returns of last year. Placing the band’s signature fuzzy kraut aside, the track is a soaring punch of dance-rock that catapults the Leeds five-piece towards the dancefloor, somewhere it seemed inconceivable for them to end up.
As ‘Microshift’ rolls along, the lead of ‘Negative Space’ isn’t altogether followed, but there’s a lighter touch to the record, adding contemplation to the already-evident intensity of 2014’s brilliant ‘The Hum’. ‘Static Resistance’ is a breezy follow-up, while ‘Ullswater’’s gloopy, repetitive bassline and anthemic, sweeping conclusion recalls a certain James Murphy.
As with the countless brilliant records he’s worked on over the last five years, MJ’s production shines here - ‘Microshift’ bristles with life and never sits still. Almost drone-like atmospherics sit on ‘The Soft Season’, a track which sees the producer’s vocals shine, replacing his trademark yelp with something, suitably, altogether softer. He proves himself an increasingly versatile vocalist. While ‘The Hum’ proved a logical step forward for Hookworms, ‘Microshift’ pays little attention to the script, and is all the more thrilling for it.