Click to hear: “Play It Back”
I’m gonna be lazy and use the F-word again: Fugazi. It’s an easy way to describe difficult music like Yorba Linda, the second full-length by Huak.
Huak is also a four-piece with two guitarists, one of whom handles most of the vocals while the other shouts behind him. The songs are intense and frenetic, an angry off-key post-punk that treats melody like a capitalist indulgence to be resisted and derided.
Singer/guitarist Jake Lowry — who’s putting his politics into practice these days among the occupiers — indicts the corrupt and complacent with lines like, “Every lie they told you contains a piece of truth / But you were never really one who needed the proof,” from “Secret Trees Pt. 2.” Musically, everyone’s equal: Stefan Hanson’s bass is as prominent in the mix as Lowry’s and Joel Glidden’s guitars; drummer Mike Cunnane (yeah, same guy who’s in The RattleSnakes) has free range to amaze.
Huak’s relentlessness can get tiring after listening to several songs in succession, but Yorba Linda’s strangeness helps keeps your ears engaged, and the schizophrenic songwriting ensures you won’t be bored by repetition. Odd snippets of sound and spoken word keep popping into the mix, by engineer Ron Harrity. You won’t be walking around humming these songs, but you may march to them someday.
— Chris Busby