Album Cover
The Devil Isn't Red
5 Rue Chirstine


Hella are a band that never cease to astonish. Their debut "Hold Your Horse Is" was completely brilliant, and the ensuing EPs were not at all what was expected - electronics, goofy rap and various sound samples interwoven with their already-established guitar and drums intelli-rawk sound. With each stylistic change, the band showed that they could take the changes and absorb them into what they'd had before to create a richer and more glossy (but not necessarily better) sound, and that they were well-suited to release a follow-up that would astound, confuse and delight the crap out of.

But on their sophomore full-length, Hella have taken on more of a low-end Lightning Bolt sound, a sound that is, for the most part, far less intelligent or interesting than the any of the previously established Hella sounds. It's an entertaining sound, but unfulfilling, and the album suffers for it, it being distressingly difficult to listen to in its entirety.

The title track is a highlight - here, Spencer Seim's guitar is back to its original level of proficiency, Zach Hill's drums are back to their dizzying level of perfection, and the combination thereof is less garishly loud and more brilliantly noisy. "Welcome to the Jungle", also, explores more of the Hold Your Horse Is dynamic, and delivers another highlight before the album screeches to its disappointing halt. "Your DJ Parents", not surprisingly, is a reworking of "Your DJ Children" from their latest EP, but with the sound completely washed out. Other songs have excellent parts within them, but are so surrounded with blaring disappointment that they can be difficult to find and appreciate.

Hella have been consistently showing that they are capable of musical change, and that, however much their style changes, they're still consistently fun to listen to. Which is why it's so dismaying that they've released a follow-up that's neither much of a musical change, nor particularly fun to listen to. While Hella are a band that never cease to astonish, The Devil Isn't Red is astonishing mostly in its disappointment.

Noah Jackson

Track List

  1. Hello Great Architect of the Universe
  2. Big Time and the Kid
  3. The Mother Could Be You
  4. Top Twenty Notes
  5. Brown Medal 2003
  6. Suistyle
  7. The Devil Isn't Red
  8. Your DJ Parents
  9. Women of the 90s
  10. Except No Subs
  11. Welcome to the Jungle Baby, You're Gonna Live