Ah, Bristol! I love that city for its spirits, its music festivals, its propensity for chucking statues in the river (fuck slavers and their effigies, yeah?), and its love for weirdo rock. The latest example of the latter is Last Hyena, on whose upcoming release, How Soon Is Mars I recently stumbled upon. These guys make a sort of mathrock that goes heavy on the progressive influences while still keeping things very chunky, very groovy, and very engaging. Think Town Portal but they’ve crashed into a truck full of metronomes and now they can only count in odd-meters. The opening track on the album, “Where’s Laika?”, showcases all of these ideas and then some, a perfect introduction to how the band manage to play their off-kilter music but still interweave it with plenty of emotion and dreams. And the track has a killer animated video, which makes it an even better candidate for a premiere! Let’s get right to it.

If you didn’t tear up a bit on that last shot of Laika’s photograph, then you have no heart. I love how the animated video channels the science-fiction vibes of the music into a psychedelic retelling of The Best Dog’s story and how it’s willing to far and wide with its vision. Sort of like the track itself, right? Starting off with a hard to count main riff, “Where’s Laika?” ascends into psychedelic, dreamy choruses before returning once again to weirder territory. The bass leads that return to weirdness, with its staccato, chopped up antics dragging the rest of the music by its noise. Everything comes back together as the story reaches its climaxes, the dreamy overtones once again returning to scintillate (I can use that as a verb, right?) the music and set it a blaze, just like the wake of the rocket in the video.

Long story short, this rules. The track/video combo showcases Last Hyena’s storytelling capabilities which also shine through the rest of the album when it’s “just” the music. If you’re a fan of clever, and complex music that, nonetheless, doesn’t fail to move you and speak to you, this release should be blipping on your radar right now. How Soon Is Mars releases on April 30th and you can pre-order it right here. Do it for Laika.

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