It would be quite the understatement to say that the music of Hooded Fang isn’t for everyone and, to be honest, I’m not really sure who the music is for. Actually, let me correct that last part, the quartet from Toronto are obviously making music for themselves, which explains their shifting line-up and sound since their 2010 debut, Album, as well as the fact that their music continues to be released via their own label, DAPS RECORDS. Sonically the group’s fourth record, Venus On Edge, is most like 2013’s Gravez, although the indie meets punk experimentation is dialled up to eleven.
Hooded Fang have leaned into the ‘garage’ element of their sound for Venus On Edge, producing a record that sounds like it was recorded in one. That is not to say that this album is a low quality affair, just that an abrasive, angular, sound is persistent throughout which generates a sense of unease in the listener ensuring the ‘on edge’ part of the title is apt. Everything kicks off with the repetitious tones of Tunnel Vision, which breaks into the angular guitar that will come to dominate the album. The song shows a nice layering throughout and Daniel Lee, on vocals, and Lane Halley, on guitar, provide stacatto for the verse.
Shallow adds a jangly quality to the guitar sound, creating a perverted surf-rock vibe that harks back to the group’s early work, with drummer D. Alex Meeks providing a solid breakbeat to the song while April Aliermo’s bassline shines on Impressions, which is a song that features one of the most satisfying false endings I’ve heard. Solid rock drumming and bass-work anchors A Final Hello’s twisted ‘80s synth-pop while album closer, Venus, is arrhythmic and discordant, illustrating why Venus is on edge. Venus On Edge is an interesting album – in that it invokes a great ambivalence in the listener, though perhaps that’s just me and others may fall on either side of the line of “love it or hate it” – that bears repeat listening.