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Dead Slow Hoot I Suppose They Were Better Off As Dead

Just over halfway through I Suppose They Were Better Off Dead, there’s a short, melancholy whistled solo over a gently strummed guitar. It’s the quietest moment on the record and a very rare moment of stasis in an EP otherwise bristling with energy, yet it’s the ideal point of entry. Immediately evoking the fear and desolation of Morricone’s Old West, it’s a perfect harbinger of the sombre thread that weaves this intriguing, haunting and intelligent EP together.

Dead Slow Hoot are a young and ambitious Sheffield band, and these six tracks comprise their second release. Tonally, the EP shifts from anthemic, Arcade Fire-esque choruses to the fuzzy, barren sonic landscapes of Mogwai with an impressive versatility.

Hugo Lynch’s laconic vocals recall many northern greats. You’ll hear shades of Cocker, Curtis and, above all, Morrissey in his imaginative and metaphor-laden lyrics. This is one of an ever-growing number of quality records produced in the studio of Screaming Maldini’s Nick Cox, and his production is as ever complex, multi-layered and detailed.

Despite this elaborate construction, dynamic range and malevolent energy, the emotional core of the EP is bittersweet and pensive, and it's all the better for it. It’s an absorbing record that I hope will continue to grow on me.