After being practically floored with a handful of metal and hardcore shows I attended to last month and then some, the Music Reviews section of this blog finally has something in it for everyone to see and/or pick apart. Kicking off my first-ever music review with an album called “A Force of Habit” by GYHT (formerly known as Goodbye Yesterday, Hello Today until the trio decided to just shorten their collective name to its 4-lettter acronym).
Please do bear with me if it took quite a long while to deliver this entire review as I ultimately decided while working on a handful of long drafts to do a full-on write-up about “A Force of Habit” after interpreting a passage from a certain major music rag’s previous review of the said album which regarded it as “a head-bopping collection of songs that you just want to dissect one-by-one to fully understand the concept behind it” as a call to really come up with one.
“A Force of Habit” consists of 15 tracks (two of which are remixes) with vocals that take a while to fully appreciate, just the right amount of guitar as well as a large bank of samples, synths, drumpad beats and all other things electronic. GYHT isn’t content with sticking to a singular electro-rock sound that dictates the entire album itself, thus making “A Force of Habit” a mixed bag of assorted goodies with some personal favorites but not without a handful of duds as well. The entire album can be streamed below:
“A Force of Habit” opens with the bouncy joint “Electric Waves” in which the delivery of the lyrics felt a bit too forced to my liking. A for effort though for the first few bars that vaguely recall New Order’s “Blue Monday” as interpreted by a hiphop producer.
The trio then takes on 90’s style industrial rave music with “Paper Tigers”. The individual parts of this song seemed to be in three different keys which shouldn’t have fit at all in theory but it somehow did. Not digging the stuttered last part though; that could have been totally scrapped and the song would’ve turned out just fine.
“Chocolate Moon” is driven by this triphop beat that reminds me a lot of this song from Portishead:
I have yet to figure out though just what exactly is a chocolate moon and what it has got to do with the doomsday vibe of the rest of the lyrics.
Good thing there’s “Distraction/Destruction” to distract me (pun intended) with its booming drum and chunky guitar breakdown intro which then leads back to the industrial rave style from “Paper Tigers”. I just wish the “your distraction is my destruction” part of that song was shouted more prominently instead of being buried a little too deep in the mix (seriously hoping that “Distraction/Destruction”’s shouted parts are more out there when performed in front of an audience as I confess to not having seen GYHT play in a live setting just yet).
Absolutely no idea at all if anyone in GYHT is into minimal techno stuff but “Eighty-Fourth” reminds me a lot of this track from Objekt’s “Flatland” LP:
Or what would have been the end result if TJ Hertz and Godflesh walked into a bar (feel free to add some punchline here, lol). A certified floorbanger for sure.
Clocking in at almost 8 minutes long, “Prelude to Habit” wanders back to triphop territory with laidback guitar parts that seem to have been lifted from any of those chill-out lounge compilation albums and also serve as a breather from all the aggro riffage from the previous songs. The only issue I have with this instrumental is that it is admittedly a bit too long for a track that’s supposed to serve as a prelude. Was already gonna call it a day and drift off to sleep until the title track of this record kicked in which reminded me a lot of Deftones mainman Chino Moreno’s side project Team Sleep (pun unintentional). The last few bars wherein that The Edge (of U2 fame)-like guitar sound was achieved using some sort of delay effect (I could be wrong though since I’m honestly not that well-versed with guitar-based jargon… yet) is a nice touch to a rousing electronic ballad like that.
“Loophole!” felt to me though like a weak spot in the entire album despite the exclamation point in the title. Can’t help but wish for it to be a more urgent song instead of one that has shaky vocals all over. Skipping that one in favor of “Danse Macabre” – or “that shape-shifting song” as I like to call it as it starts off with a shuffling beat then briefly transforms into a glitchy piece replete with samples of arcade sounds. Makes me wonder then if there’s a video game developer out there willing to use “Danse Macabre” as a background theme song or something similar.
“The Illusionist” which is driven in part by an ominous church organ sample reminds me of funerals for some reason. Those yearning, melancholic vocals singing lines like “Will I ever see the light again?” also add to the sad vibe all throughout, thus making it an interesting shift from the upbeat songs that dominate the album for the most part. The sadness extends to the next song “Morning Noise” whose title can be a bit misleading as I actually thought at first that the song was gonna be dreamy female vocals juxtaposed against a pile-on of found construction and rush hour traffic sounds. The vocals are still what I originally expected but the music itself is an industrial shoegaze hybrid that’s completely fine by me.
Not quite sure if it’s just me or the intro to “Slowdown” reminds me of this song:
Tut-tutting the use of Auto-Tune in those vocals though as I am strongly of the belief that Auto-Tune should only be used rather sparingly and when the situation calls for it, just like this one:
“Handgun” for me is another weak spot in the entire album which felt like ”Paper Tigers” pt. 2. Decided to not cover the two remixes for this review so “A Force of Habit” caps off with a rather livid finish by way of “Handgun”. “Morning Noise” could’ve been the perfect track to close the entire album but I’m not a GYHT member, so all I could do is to suggest that any album must have a strong start and finish despite some bumps that listeners would encounter along the way. Since it had been told to me some weeks ago that GYHT’s upcoming sophomore effort would ditch the industrial vibe of “A Force of Habit” and lean more towards shoegaze and space rock, here’s to hoping that the trio would take that humble suggestion in mind. Would also love to see ”A Force of Habit” get a physical release anytime soon.
Fave tracks: “Eighty-Fourth”, “Distraction/Destruction”, “A Force of Habit”