As regular readers of this blog will already know, Hyacca are one of those bands I find it impossible to be objective about even if being objective were something music writers should particularly aspire towards anyway (it isn’t). Anyway, to reiterate: I love this band, I released both their albums through my label and regularly book their gigs when they visit Tokyo, so while I might tag this as “review”, all I’m really doing is telling you to go listen.
I wrote about Hyacca’s song Uneko a few months ago, which is a track I released and the cheap, tacky video to which I shot, but Telephone Number is a slightly different case. I had nothing to do with the video and while the original version of the song appeared on the band’s debut album Sashitai about seven years ago, this is a new recording that the band decided to do for no real reason as far as I can work out.Hyacca: Telephone Number
Anyway, in the absence of a new album from them, a new version of a great old song is nonetheless welcome. For many years, Telephone Number used to close out every Hyacca live set and frequently devolved into utter chaos and violence (that role is mostly taken by Hanazono now) and it’s one of the songs where the band lay aside the tricky rhythms and disorientating song structures that characterise some of their other work in favour of just pummelling you. The drums and bassline just drive into you from the start, and one of the guitars locks into a percussive loop. In Hyacca’s catalogue of songs, it’s also probably the track that makes most use of the call-and-response vocals that they often deploy to great effect and a rare song whose lyrics are entirely in English or some approximation of it, not that you’d know beneath the squall and squee of the feedback and fuzz.
So as I said, my feelings about this band and this song were carved out long ago, but since this new version just emerged, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share this with y’all and do a bit of cheerleading for this brilliant group. As you were.