Things get decidedly darker on Dynasty House, the six-song sixth album from Toronto's Hooded Fang. Thematically, April Aliermo and Daniel Lee focus on telling tales of family members' lives in the Philippines, Suriname and Germany amidst newer tales of living in Canada, which explains the sense of journeying and motion that each song displays.
There's a sense of urgency, immediacy and strength to each tune. The music itself plays as much a part in the storytelling as the lyrics do, particularly on "Nene of the Light," which clocks in at 6:25, half of which is a driving, frenzied instrumental. The same can be said for eerie album closer "Mama Pearl"; the instruments stretch and search, becoming increasingly feverish, while Aliermo keeps it steady and Lee begins singing, catching the listener off-guard.
The catchy refrain of "I just wanna be loved when I go away" in "Paramaribo Prince" breaks up the slightly spooky solid and constant backing thump as the guitar skitters frantically above it, while "Doñamelia" melts and reconstructs itself, with the guitar almost emulating a mandolin at times. "Sisters and Suns" is quite powerful, driven by Aliermo's demanding and demonstrative bass playing, always a beautiful thing. She's an absolute highlight here, and a staple of Hooded Fang's sound.
Dynasty House may not boast a lengthy track list, but it certainly doesn't lack any of the heaviness or intricacies that Hooded Fang are known for dishing out. The band allow their music and melodies — often conflicting, often abrasive, often hypnotic — to fill the room here, and the result is an unrestricted sound that welcomes the listener to ponder and reflect. The instrumental breaks here never feel rambling or tired, but rather quite enticing, particularly with Lee's quirks thrown in here and there, via guitar in that distinct pitch and tone.
Dynasty House is another solid release from this foursome. (Daps)