Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Hurry started out as the solo project of guitarist/songwriter Matt Scottoline before expanding to its current three-piece form, and it’s quite obviously Scottoline’s fuzzed-out vocals and guitar that are front and center in any of the songs on the group’s 2014 album Everything/Nothing. The album features ten songs that update established pop song formulas from years past, and in some ways, resembles a less obnoxious effort from the outstanding pop punk group The Queers. There’s a relaxed vibe to many of these tracks, as if we’re listening to a singer reflect warmly on people, places, and times that he’s very familiar with, and though the album loses some momentum down the stretch, there’s more than enough here to make it worthwhile.
Built around blaring guitar riffs, the album’s first couple tracks show Hurry at their best. With its main melody erupting after a few seconds of feedback squelch, opener “Situational Comedy” plays out at a leisurely tempo like modernized bubblegum pop that, even with liberal use of distortion on the vocals, is easy to follow (and sing) along to. Howling guitar compliments a sense of yearning present in the vocal of similarly laid back love song “Oh Whitney” before a more grinding track in “Weekday” mostly abandons the old-time feel present in the opening pair. Following the hazy, slower piece “You’re New,” the album’s chugging title track alternates between quiet moments and ones overrun with shrieking, feedback-heavy guitar.
“Days and Days and Days” finds singer Scottoline delivering an apology in its opening lyrics, an inauspicious start to a piece which seems to sap most of the energy that had been building throughout the first five tracks. With its tick-tock rhythm and more lethargic vocal, this song (which at five and a half minutes, is the album’s longest) seems to drag on and on. Given its title, that may be the point, but it certainly pops up at a most inopportune time, the first of several hit-or-miss tracks that pop up in the album’s second half. The much more uptempo “Oozing Positivity” attempts to minimize the effects of the previous number, culminating in a solo section in which it sounds like a guitar is being throttled, but it’s followed by another oddball track in “Blank” that never quite gels or works into anything. Surging guitars and a thrashing beat in “I Won’t Wait” are a step in the right direction however, and the album concludes with a song in “Civil Duty” that reminds me of the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s more pop-oriented material. The high-register main vocal line and stomping rhythm give this finale a more upbeat feel than most things coming from the mind of Anton Newcombe, and it winds up as a decent but underwhelming concluding track.
Everything/Nothing seems a most appropriate title for this somewhat uneven record. The fact that the more forgettable songs occupy the album’s second half makes it a bit of bummer down the line, but when the album is good, it’s great. The use of noise elements within otherwise gentle songs is and important part of Hurry’s sound and one of the album’s best characteristics. Since crisp and clean tones would almost go against the album’s aesthetics, I rather liked the imperfect and sometimes tortured sound of Scottoline’s guitar. Ultimately, despite its missteps, there are several extremely catchy songs on this album and I think most listeners would find something they would like.
7.5 / 10
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