Hebronix - Unreal

Moments of pure brilliance and moments of pure laziness in equal part.

Label: ATP Recordings

Rating: 6

Hebronix is the solo project of former Yuck and Cajun Dance Party frontman Daniel Blumberg, and although elements of both his previous bands can be heard on debut release ‘Unreal’, you get the sense he’s relishing his new-found freedom. Possibly a little bit too much…

After the strict and straight-forward guitars/drums/bass/vocals setup of Yuck, Blumberg has well and truly opened the instrumentation flood-gates with Hebronix. Sure, his charming, strained vocals and fuzzy, post-grunge guitar work is still there, but now we have flutes, string sections, horns, and synthesisers all making appearances. And it makes for fun listening, for the most part. At other times, it’s nothing but an utter mess. A simultaneous flute and guitar solo during ‘Garden’, hastily followed by an impromptu string quartet breakdown, was only ever going to end in disaster.

A similar approach seems to have been taken structurally, with songs twisting and morphing in unexpected directions with varying results. ‘Wild Whim’ is filled with fuzzy alt-rock promise, but meanders off into unfocused, purposeless territory, and drags on for two minutes too long.

Recent single ‘Viral’, on the other hand, gets the balance just right. A beautiful blend of guitars and keys, coupling stripped down, instrumental sections with a wonderful, soaring chorus, it’s a prime example of what Hebronix could be with a bit more honing in.

This all results in ‘Unreal’ being a slightly frustrating listen. It dishes out moments of pure brilliance and moments of pure laziness in equal part, which is possibly the result of Blumberg being left to his own devices a little too much. For the time being, it will hopefully serve as a sign of things to come, rather than representing a fully-formed product.