Elevate Difference

Hope Freaks

I realize I spend many of my reviews describing what bands sound like, but hear me out. I frequently haven’t heard the bands I’m reviewing before, and I kind of figure most people reading Elevate Difference probably haven’t either (many times to their detriment, may I add). So anyway, on to my review why Pre are another one of those acts I think people should pay attention to, even if they aren’t into noise rock.

Pre, like Finnish salty licorice and IPA beers, is indeed an acquired taste. Pre is a noise band in the vein of bands like Aids Wolf and Melt Banana. Like those other bands, Pre doesn’t take much time to ponder or dwell in any single place (although there is a rather long repetitive moment in “Not Necessary” that is pretty much a noise version of the intermission music in Monty Python and the Holy Grail).

There is no need to feel introspective or lift a cigarette lighter during the long guitar solo. This is music dedicated to fast satisfaction; it is the fizz and the caffeine of a thirty-two ounce energy drink. In fact, Hope Freaks propelled me on my last run far and beyond my typical three miles, and into the outer limits of an eight-mile excursion that I thought was really only possible by statuesque people who wear those hydration fanny-packs. (Of course, I am now nursing shin splints, which I fully blame Pre for.)

Despite all of the speed and dissonance, however, Hope Freaks still feels more listenable than some of their other noise-band peers. Amid the mishmash of squealing guitar and effects pedals, there is some semblance of a more “typical” verse-chorus-verse structure, and just a bit of the catchiness that bands like Wolf Eyes thumb their noses at.

Mixing noise with catchy is a delicate business, as is making noise listenable beyond the middle of a late-night live show (where, of course, it is best appreciated). Pre isn’t exactly the kind of music I would bring with me on a road trip with my mother, but it is perfect for a listen after a rough day at work when all you want to do is beat the snot out of a pillow like you used to do when you were fourteen. Also, weirdly, it sounds a little like music that would be perfect for cartoons. Maybe this is because I can’t help but think of Melt Banana, wrote the theme song to the Adult Swim cartoon Perfect Hair Forever (titled “Hair-Cat,” in case you were interested), when I listen to Pre.

So maybe they’re a little Melt Banana—but they’re also a little Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Pre managed, after all, to do something that not many noise acts are capable of: they’re stuck in my head, even as I sit on the couch and ice my shin splints. Maybe next week I should be listening to Joanna Newsom as I run. Sigh.

Written by: Emily S. Dunster, December 3rd 2009