Album Cover
Hold Your Horse Is
5 Rue Christine
March 19, 2002


No album is perfect. Every album, however amazing, could theoretically be a little bit better in some way. But this debut release from California duo Hella, one amazing guitar and one amazing drum set, comes really, really, really close. No math-rock has ever been this catchy, this well-played, this completely and utterly awe-inspiring. Don Cab, the Oxes, any of them, they're all great, well, a few of them are great, but this is better. Like, a lot better.

Guitarist Spencer Seim plays the parts of at least three talented guitarists at once, and his skill with the guitar will make you weep. The same statement applies to drummer Zach Hill, with "drums" substituted for "guitar" - bear in mind that all these bass drum hits you're hearing are being played with a single pedal, with a single foot. People have seen it, I guess, and swear it's true.

"Been a Long Time Cousin" is probably the album's most approachable song - there is no way anyone can deny that, however noisy math-rock pretenso-indie it may be, it succeeds in rocking the listener completely; from the opening note, nothing will be expected, and everything will be amazing. The following track, "Republic of Rough and Ready", is just as mind-boggling as the previous, but the tone is slightly quieter and more centered around the interweaving of the multiple guitar parts - except all these parts are being played by ONE GUITAR - and all these drum parts are being played by ONE DRUMMER - and it will warp your fragile little mind. "City Folk Sitting, Sitting" is much the same way. The whole album is much the same way.

I've since thrown out the shrink wrap the CD came in, but attached to it by the record label was a sticker with a notice to the effect that Hella was not for everyone, but that they would change the way you thought about music. And they will. Or they should.

The best release of 2002. The best release of 2003.

Noah Jackson

Track List

  1. The D. Elkan
  2. Biblical Violence
  3. Been A Long Time Cousin
  4. Republic of Rough and Ready
  5. 1-800 Ghost Dance
  6. Brown Metal
  7. Cafeteria Bananas
  8. City Folk Sitting, Sitting
  9. Better Get a Broom!