Hidden Hospitals Reveal LIARS
Chicago’s Hidden Hospitals, fronted by former Damiera founding member, Dave Raymond just released the most interesting and intricate alt-rock/electronica fusion album since Kid A.
Photo by Peter Kulak
“Staying interested/ing inspires the change. The stuff I wanted to write for [2014’s Surface Tension] manifested itself then, and picking the guitar up and hearing old ideas come out is the opposite of alluring to me. That’s always been a driving factor in staying a musician for me – getting out of my own box…” explained Hidden Hospitals’ frontman Dave Raymond in response to my question on where the inspiration behind the change in sound from Hidden Hospital’s first LP (Surface Tension) and their new album LIARS. The closer fusion of electronic and traditional rock elements on LIARS can be slightly jarring at first, but ends up sounding nothing short of phenomenal upon closer listen, as all great albums do.
Raymond and HH definitely worked hard to finish strong with LIARS, although the songs, with all of their mixed live and programmed drums, layered guitar riffs, and electronic elements threaded throughout come together with a cohesion and seamless composition that Raymond and HH make sound too easily accomplished. LIARS is the kind of album that, again, like the best rock albums, gets better and better with each listen, as well as more impressive. Every time I listen to LIARS (and I’ve been listening to it for a while now), I hear something new. It could be a new meaning that I discern in a lyric, a synth wash that I thought was just a synth wash, but is really a guitar part, a guitar part that I at first thought was rather simple and extraneous is revealed to be integral to the album’s cohesion having a sibling that is hiding in another song which creates album cohesion and reinforces theme. LIARS is a rock music lover’s dream listen, and a music/album/song analyzer’s MUST listen.
Yes, it sounds like heavy stuff, but the music provides the necessary heft to keep the thematic elements from grinding under their own weight. The album is more urgent than uplifting, but that’s what I’ve come to love, and respect, about HH. There is a level of substance here, lyrically and musically, that is dreadfully absent from all contemporary pop music, most contemporary rock, and too much contemporary hip hop/rap. It’s obvious that Raymond is the type of artist who has something to say, and the talent to not make is sound trite or obvious in the delivery. That’s a rarity these days as well.
So, how does all this come across in a live setting? Unfortunately, I have yet to experience HH live, but that might be changing. “We love playing live – it’s what we’re built for. We’re currently sorting our where to put that energy – we just had a really successful LIARS release show in Chicago, have a few awesome shows in the pipe, and will announce our plans for summer + fall soon. I hope that includes the Southeast!”
I certainly hope so too.