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HTRK, "Marry Me Tonight"

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I haven't had this much of a hard-on over an album since Colder's Heat. Marry Me Tonight (actually from 2009) is an almost purely emotional experience, with nine songs that in various levels combine ominous and chugging bass lines, creepy guitar (imagine that sound Wire toyed with on "Single KO"), a cold 808-supplied rhythm, a particularly endearing crudeness, and perverse lyrics with a disaffected delivery. This is a wet dream of a teenager overpowered by his or her hormones with enough pent up angst to send most adults into therapy.

Blast First Petite

Marry Me Tonight - HTRK

Pronounced "Hate Rock Trio," this male/male/female group originated in Melbourne, moved to Berlin, released a seven-song EP, Nostalgia, in 2007 on Fire (after sending a demo to my own Killer Pimp label, which I'm kicking myself because I can't remember listening and it probably got lost in the shuffle), moved to London and between 2008 and 2009, released this full-length album and a couple singles. Sadly, Sean Stewart (who co-founded the group along with Nigel Yang) passed in March of 2010.

The strong emphasis on rhythm, via a pounding bass guitar and 808, coupled with the dissonant guitar is immediately attention commanding, fresh from the opening song "Ha." "Rentboy," however is where the mighty and lovable hooks come into play. Lyrically, the songs speak volumes to the teenager inside me: there's nothing subtle here. Don’t expect any deep thoughts—there is no opacity as everything is explicit—just nine songs that are easy to learn and sing about obsession, possession, domination, and aggression.

"and everyone in the room you're giving it to
And everyone in the room you've had once or more

I'll pretend that i'm new
I'll act surprised when it ends
And when you're overdue
I'll watch you over and over again rentboy"

Sure it’s not anything new, but the songs are wonderfully catchy. Songs like "Panties" have teeth-gnashing guitar noise reminiscent of World Domination Enterprises while "Shoot You Up" has some powerful bass slappage going on.

"When you get home
He'll suck you off 'cause he's hanging out to get closer
I'm with my friend
She's fucked up but she'll shoot you up
She'll shoot you up to get closer"

The group seems as unapologetic as the lyrics would suggest, just do a Google image search for HTRK and their full-frontal publicity shot is one of the most common hits.

Hate Paul Smith or fucking hate Paul Smith, the man has great taste in music (he has been irresponsible in one way or another for Cabaret Voltaire, Sonic Youth, Labradford, Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, Panasonic, Wire, Rivulets, and Effi Briest, just to name a few). Given this album came out over two years ago on Blast First Petite but never made (deservedly) big waves across the waters, I can only imagine that Smith priced every prospective label out of the market. I can't blame him, however, as the production job by the late Rowland Howard (The Birthday Party) is flawless and probably wasn't cheap. HTRK continues on without Sean Stewart and a new album is due this year.



Last Updated on Saturday, 21 May 2011 16:25  


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