Hoi-Poi Farplane Wind hails from Thessaloníki, Greece, and apparently splits their time between there and Copenhagen, which is an arrangement that sounds like a travel blogger’s wet dream. They play an evolving brand of post-hardcore that often has a Hot Water Music influence standing front and center. Their early sound is fuzzier, harsher, an offhand shot at their own interpretation of the genre that at times sounded more like The Misfits than Rites of Spring, but they slowly evolved some softer edges. By the time we get to 2018’s Dread and Vision EP, Hoi-Poi starts to demonstrate their Quicksand influence while dabbling in some quieter emo progressions, and I can even hear some The Lawrence Arms in there. I prefer not to lead with so many namedrop comparisons, but the occasion calls for it, as there are a series of styles at play here. Or maybe I’m leaning too heavily on review clichés; take your pick.
On the recently released Sain’t Adorable, Hoi-Poi continues to develop their sound to further distinguish themselves from those boxed-in associations. There’s more of an emphasis on multi-section song structure, forceful and complex guitar work, and a level of intensity that may serve as a reminder that this should be experienced at a live show, in the way that early At the Drive-In displayed their passion most prominently in person. Lead singer Kostas Grammadas has a fittingly husky, rough-hewn voice that never overtakes or derails their overall sound. The melodies get more lush and full-fledged as the record goes on, shifting away from the more discordant opening track “Mal Ad Just.” Their self-proclaimed ‘emotive post-hardcore’ tag is an apt categorization, as you can periodically hear shades of twinklecore, which I guess is a real term we’re using now. Get off my lawn.
The production is extremely polished and truly accents their instrumentation. These guys are exceptionally talented -- even small details stand out, like the bass flourishes that run in the background before returning back to the main melodies. It’s the soundtrack for bittersweet spring mornings that are just as full of optimism as they are full of uncertainty, not that I remember what those feel like nowadays. An early bridge on “Busybody/Lazybones” has a real Pretty Girls Make Graves feel to it that gives off genuinely joyful nostalgic vibes. Hoi-Poi even flexes their punk sensibilities with some speedy parts and exceptional drumwork on “Rest Embarrassed.” That prolonged scream in the middle of “Chief End” almost reminds me of the first time I heard that bridge on Taking Back Sunday’s “Cute Without the E (Cut From The Team)” in the early Victory Records days. Related tangent -- let us remember the truly bizarre combination on that 2002 Victory Records Tour.
This record feels like one that took a long time to craft. What stands out to me each time I take Sain’t Adorable for a spin are these elongated progressions where they just rock out; not to sound dense, but they flaunt the fact that they’re a real rock band. Even at nine tracks, Hoi-Poi packs it tight to the brim, and gives off the impression that they just played take after take until each piece was flawless. Credits should absolutely go to the studio and producers for the breadth of sequences that they tie together so well. If there’s critique to be handed out, it would only center around their misplacement within a myriad of subgenres, but I think that’s one of their strengths, at the risk of sounding like I’m answering a job interview question for them. It does mean that they might miss the mark for the purists among us who need our emo or post-hardcore to be closer to our comfort zones. But that also broadens their appeal to fans that might have otherwise brushed past their purposely eccentric band name. Hoi-Poi Farplane Wind isn’t simple or easy to describe, but neither are you, so they’re absolutely worth your time.
7.2 / 10
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