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Future From Here Nick Roseblade , October 16th, 2019 08:55

Playing guitar with My Bloody Valentine on tour may have influenced Jen Macro's sounds, but there's more to Hurtling's debut than that, finds Nick Roseblade

Playing live for My Bloody Valentine can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that you get to perform all those bangers night after night for delighted fans. The downside is that when you release your own music, it can be easily written off as “Not MBV”. Luckily touring guitarist/keyboard player Jen Macro doesn’t have this problem. The debut album from Hurtling, Macro’s new band, manages to conjure up the vibe of MBV, whilst forging its own path.

There is breathy immediacy to Hurtling’s debut album Future From Here. The album was recorded over two weekends in late 2017 and early 2018, during breaks in MBV’s tour schedule at drummer Jon Clayton’s OneCat studio in Brixton. Macro had already written the songs, and the band knew them from playing live, but it was during these sessions that Future From Here really started to take shape. The songs began to evolve from live demos to the finished articles that appear on the album. And this comes across when playing Future From Here. The band sound confident and in control, but there is freshness to the songs that comes from not over playing and giving them time to develop naturally.

The two songs that sum up Future From Here are ‘Start’ and ‘Let Go’. ‘Start’ showcases Macro’s breathy and delicate vocals. Musically the band is more subdued and playful sounding. The main riff is catchy and slightly wonky. While the band never really greats out of second gear, there is a glorious piece of woozy fuzz about half way through that shows that when they want to, Hurtling can let rip and tear us all a new one. ‘Let Go’ opens with gossamer guitars, which match Macro’s fragile vocals. It is also more textured than ‘Start’ as Macro starts to use her pedals to create intricate swaths of hazy giddy guitars, but when the chorus kicks in, everything comes into focus, becoming sharper and more direct, before drifting back into the ether for the next verse.

Future From Here is an album that sounds familiar and fresh at the same time. As you’d expect from Macro’s time in MBV the songs have a woozy swoony vibe to them, but the real enjoyment of Future From Here is when the band get locked in the groove and the crushing, crunching guitars take over – ‘Summer’ being a prime example of this. There is something wonderfully destructive about them. It’s the same as the pleasure you get from watching videos of buildings being demolished on YouTube. It’s all over in a few seconds, but there is something graceful about the way they fall down.

While Future From Here is a fun album, there are moments when you feel like the band have picked their favourite parts from their favourite songs and put their spin on it. Macro’s guttural screams are reminiscent of peak Riot Grrrl, and the guitar’s massive swoons could be taken from the best MBV tracks that Macro plays nightly, and then there are the nods to the Breeders and Sonic Youth. While this isn’t a bad thing, as it triggers something in us and creates an immediate reaction, the band are at their best when they aren’t trying to ape their heroes. Opening track ‘Start’ sounds fresh and exciting with its wonky rhythms and jaunty melody. If this is a slice of what to expect from Macro in the future, we’ll all be here for a long time.