It’s not very common for a relatively successful band with three albums under their belts to suddenly change their sound for the fourth. With that in mind, it only makes sense that Hundredth, who announced that their latest record would see them depart from the melodic hardcore style they are known for, aptly called the record Rare. Inspired by 90’s Britpop artists such as Joy Division and The Smiths, Rare sees Hundredth take on the tricky task of putting out a record channeling shoegaze and alt rock while trying not to alienate their existing fanbase.
Techniques that are typical to shoegaze include instrumentals that come in much louder than the vocals, which in turn are presented fuzzy and disjointed. This sort of thing was all the rage in the 90’s but is making somewhat of a comeback in commercial music. Hundredth are an interesting addition to this movement as while they’re more than ready to shed their previous incarnation, there’s still lingering elements of hardcore that manage to boost the sound in an almost effervescent way. To some, this sort of style can be confusing, but there’s no doubt that Hundredth know exactly what they’re doing as the album kicks off with the beautifully ambient ‘Vertigo‘. It’s a track wise beyond its years to the point where it may not be appreciated by the band’s long-time fans, but it has the potential to widen their scope tenfold.
Rare progresses steadily with each song offering gentle vocals that are a treat to listen to, backed up by instrumentals that go from strength to strength. Lead singer Chadwick Johnson has absolute command, enticing listeners with lyrics that are intricately written and then carefully conveyed. The singles, ‘Neurotic‘, ‘Youth‘, ‘Suffer‘ and ‘Hole‘, naturally stand out as some of the strongest contenders on the record (otherwise they wouldn’t be singles), but honourable mentions that haven’t received such a release come in the form of ‘Shy Vein‘, which is arguably the track which shows Hundredth’s change in sound the most. With the use of heavy distortion, it is quite literally a blur… but a brilliant one at that.
Hopeless Records isn’t the place you’d expect to find an obscure subgenre of what is essentially indie, but they’ve stuck behind the South Carolina rockers with this record and thankfully it has paid off.