Reviews Tiltwheel The Hiatus AKA The High Hate Us


The Hiatus AKA The High Hate Us

Tiltwheel have firmly established themselves as one of the least prolific bands out there. Formed in 1991, the band had released only two proper full-lengths up until The Hiatus (alternately listed as The High Hate us)—maybe three if you count re-recording old EPs and putting them together as a collection. Was The Hiatus years in the making, or did life get in the way of a proper recording and production session? Does it even matter what the excuse is? When all is said and done, putting that record on the turntable and hearing Davey Quinn’s signature, deprecatory voice is enough.

The band doesn’t waste any time reminding their listeners of their down-on-their-luck, fuck-everything tone, with one of the first lyrics on the record being a very clear “You stupid cunt.” The band has been compared with Leatherface and Jawbreaker in the past, and both comparisons are apt, with the songs stretching the three-to-four minute mark instead of punk’s typical two-to-three. Quinn’s voice is gravely, yet emotive, and his lyrics are precise and literate, focused on personal introspection punctuated by a lifestyle of heavy drinking. Despite their numerous tales of alcoholic binges, the band shows extremely tight musicianship and timing as a band. While Quinn’s lyrics explore his inner demons, the music is driving, energetic, and singalong. His content may not seem well-suited to melody, but the songs feature a distinct and universal pleading and exasperation led by carefully crafted songs that swell with the emotional tide of the lyrics, offering energetic highpoints, drawn out lows, and a feeling that the music runs as much on adrenaline as anything else.

Among the album’s highlights are “I Spent My Summer Vacation in Vancouver, B.C.” and “Can’t Remember Shit,” both of which build around the fleeting joys of alcohol contrasted by heartbreak, frustration, and going nowhere. “I’m fat, fucked up, and beautiful,” Quinn sings in “Summer Vacation,” celebrating the misfit culture of the band. Similarly, “Can’t Remember Shit,” references “this heart, these hands, [and] these tall cans.” In “Get Your Gentrification Out of my Aburquesamiento,” the band shifts gears toward more sociological themes. While the subject matter is still rather glum, there seems to be a more energetic feel without the first person approach.

Sometimes, the longer a band takes between albums, the harder it is to live up to expectations. In the case of The Hiatus, Tiltwheel delivers another incredibly solid record in line with the rest of their catalog.

8.6 / 10Loren
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8.6 / 10

8.6 / 10

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