"Cold Sweats" by HEK

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"Cold Sweats" by HEK

Review

Out right now is the latest HEK single, namely "Cold Sweats". HEK are one of the most talked about Coventry bands at the moment (and it's fascinating that they release this song on the same day Green Hands, who occupy a similar place on the Leamington scene, bring out theirs). We have raved about all their singles to date and their track "Moving Fast", which appears on ‘Hot Musi Live Presents Volume Ten' is one of those current sensations whose streaming figures are unprecedented in the history of the project. In fact it would make a superb single itself: I never tire of hearing it.

Another wonderful Moonbase production (what great stuff is coming out of there currently!), the song showcases the marvellous talents of the musicians involved: both vocally & instrumentally. Really catchy & hitting directly into the listener's core, there are so many clever nuances which make up this apparent simplicity that you don't really notice how you are seduced by the song & indeed the other HEK material: hooks, riffs, little licks and constant surprises to keep your attention without distracting at all from the song as a whole.

Reiss Pinder's lyrics continue to be of the highest class: I suggested a poetic element to those of Callum Mckissock earlier in the week & these are of a similar class: evocative without being so direct that you aren't allowed space to interpret them as you will: they permit you in & give you a general sense which you the need to process personally. I suspect that different people will take different impressions away & in fact my own deciphering has evolved over several plays.

The imagery veers towards the Tennysonian at times (though Tennyson probably never self identified as "sleazy" nor called Lady Tennyson "baby") or even Goethe, while the band (Reiss singing & playing guitar, Lucy Gardner on keyboards, Olivia Gardner on bass guitar, Josh Sellis on guitar and Sean Statham on drums) may have been checking out classical music (Dukas or Saint-Saëns?) as much as rock acts, such is the richness and diversity of ideas brought to the music as well as the words. This is not a band who think in boxes about what they are making nor where their inspirations come from.

A word too for the teasing introduction: it reminded me how this art might have been neglected in recent years: at any rate it's been a long time since I heard one as good as this at building the tension up to almost unbearable heights before the vocal enters. I suppose comparisons with The Doors are inevitable, but "Cold Sweats" has an opening as good as many classics by that band: and the incredible dynamics which follow fall into similar categories as they tighten things up to breaking point before wild, unleashed wigging out break outs.

This band clearly love playing together: there is a positive gleefulness throughout their songs & you can easily hear how each member is not only bringing bright original ideas to the party but is so mindful of what each other is playing that they respond & complement. There's wit in here, sophistication and above all honesty. I hate artists with so little self esteem that their first instinct is more about fitting in than standing out. Rich as their sources may be, they've blended into something unique with certainly no local template: and almost certainly none anywhere. Baroque yet instantly accessible.

In the past year or two, a number of local bands, apart from freshening up the scene, have raised the bar considerably in terms of what can be achieved, without going so far out on a limb as to lose audience's comprehension. It's quite a broad renaissance too, encompassing what some might label as folk, art-rock, or in this case rock. HMLP streaming figures prove that plenty of people are being inspired by bands such as HEK and media responses, gig attendances etc confirm this.

You can also catch HEK live tonight at The Arches in Coventry. I can't wait myself to see this magnificent band: not least because on this form they shouldn't be a local band much longer.

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