EP review by KevW
'Hyla' might be a self-titled EP, but it's not quite the band's first release. These new garage-rock and shoegaze enthusiasts from Perth, Australia, released a one-off free download track, 'Enemies Sworn', in May, but this is their first EP and perhaps the first chance we get to suss out just what Hyla are all about. A glance at their influences reveals a familiar list of bands that many groups of this ilk absorb the energies from (Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, The Byrds, Mogwai, Ride etc.), and in that respect their music isn't exactly full of surprises, but you get the impression that it's not particularly supposed to be. Sure, they want their own sound and their own hallmarks to be imprinted on these songs, but there's no wild originality.
It matters little, as Hyla seem to have strong enough tracks to carry them. Take 'Remedy' for example; it's a scuzzy number with barely decipherable vocals and isn't unlike early BRMC or even JAMC, but they execute it well and with confidence. Plus, they have the production sorted to a high standard. First track 'Sides' is a bit less full-on, casually entering our ear space with what sounds like organ and then a firm drum beat. The guitars are allowed to jangle a bit more crisply here, but it would still compare well with, say, Crocodiles, and brings plenty of fuggy atmosphere with it. Perhaps the best is saved for last with 'To Safety Or Ruin', a song that fully embraces the grandeur of certain shoegaze bands. You can detect Slowdive and The Radio Dept. here for sure, and the extra stateliness shows another string to their bow. They're off to a flying start.
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