|The Hicks - 'Start A War?' (Self Released)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Wednesday, 17 March 2010 07:00|
I have this old uncle named John Hicks who used to entertain (actually embarrass) me when I was a teenager by singing and shouting at the top of his voice at me in the street.
From about two hundred paces he'd spot my fledgling mullet and either shout "Up The County" in reference to the field-based antics of Newport County Football Club or burst into a startling rendition of 'Danny Boy' - either way, embarrassment, over time, quickly became awesomeness as I eventually saw the funny side of all this aural pavement anarchy. Fast forward a couple of decades and change and a disc by The Hicks turns up at ÜRHQ and, for a moment, I ponder that Uncle John might have, in his later years, finally realised his dream of turning his talent into actual product and produced a disc containing all of his greatest numbers. But no, these are Wigan-based Hicks who have probably never heard the cultured vocals of my rockin' relation. Probably.
The Hicks take their name in reference to the legendary comedian Bill Hicks who, in all honesty, pretty much embodied the spirit that steers Über Röck onwards and upwards. Boxes checked already without even hearing a note of their music. Smart move. Happily, ball-less, soul-less, spirit-less, corporate little bitches, suckers of Satan's cock, The Hicks are not. Their 'Start A War?' album, apart from cracking the plaster above the uber-stereo with its heavy groove, contains within it enough of Bill's savage social commentary to ensure that this trio of clued-in heavy rockers can sleep at night secure in the knowledge that they have at least fashioned some kind of art in a world full of mouth breathers and their cracker spawn.
The Hicks sound is a curious one, yet in an extremely positive way. Eschewing the formula of your bog standard rock band these guys have created a Frankenstein's monster of a calling card, a groove-laden chimera of heavy rock, reggae and metal that certainly sounds more and more impressive through repeated listens. There is a classic rock spine to this band that would certainly shake the head of any self-respecting music fan clad in, say, a Thin Lizzy shirt, but the heart of The Hicks pounds with massive riff after massive riff evoking memories of vintage, cutting edge Pantera. Throw in the heavy groove that left fans of 'Deliverance' and 'Wiseblood' era Corrosion Of Conformity with stiff necks and air guitar elbow and the injections of melody that the reggae breakdowns provide and you are faced with a confident band who have fashioned a sound and manifesto that deserves to be heard by the masses. In an educational sense, of course.
With great musicianship, good vocals, sharp production and cool cover art, 'Start A War?' is ass-kicking proof that there are great, undiscovered bands in every dark corner of this fair land and, when we are lucky enough to stumble upon them, it is our duty to point the people in their direction - starting with you. And you.....looks like we got ourselves a reader......