Hot Border Express – Hot Border Express (Album Review)

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hbs albumHot Border Special’s self-titled debut album entered my inbox sometime around the start of August and has been rotated relentlessly ever since. It’s a good job mp3s don’t wear out. It’s an album that just begs for vinyl play though and I’m delighted to pass on the news that, if you’re quick, you can bag a copy of this belter of a long-player right now. I’m skint so if you can buy me one too we’ll just forget about the lack of birthday present ok?

Why love this album? Well there is a lot to love about it. Influences and nods to so many styles, so many places but all locked down by a deep deep funk flavour. After a gentle opening overture called The Early Bird the album explodes into life with Shockhead Sweetheart. This counterpoint of melancholic guitar against furious percussion is supremely trance-like and rather splendid, this sets the tone.

Mulartoo Deetoo’s shuffling rhythms are ripe for a dancefloor, whilst the battling guitars in Patience Goes To Beimeni returns to the trance-inducing qualities as previously mentioned. El Frantico does much of what you’d expect from a title like that with a furious pace to the highlife guitar and cowbell-led drums. I’m not sure if there is a genre called Tibetan Space Rock but it begins on this album with organ sounds of a psychedelic nature and plenty of reverb. Next up comes Monty’s Jaw which builds and builds, layers of percussion, chants and organ then into a rippling guitar crescendo.

There’s a blissful break for the floaty Wei Wu Wei and the head-nodder Give Tilly Some Yes before the closing of title track Hot Border Express, a definite exemplar of the best bits of this band.

There’s so much to enjoy in this debut with some great playing interplay between instruments and it’s an album that feels so familiar that you can listen to it again and again. Plus you can just tell that in a live setting the band will explode even more.

Get it now digitally, on CD or for a limited run only on vinyl (and don’t forget to get me one too!). You can catch Hot Border Special gigging all over the place but a couple of highlights coming up are The Canteen, Bristol – Oct 11th, The Hideaway, London – Nov 17th.

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