ABrexit minus a quarter, the UK has found itself in urgent need: Idles, Shame, Slavs – we shout, we are crazy, we are not happy, we want to break everything, it is the fault of the society. Do not expect anything new or very exciting: kids from the upper middle class who spread a nice protest from students on riffs aimed at post-punk retrospectives and whose bloodstains do not stir much than festivals where they provoke good-natured pogos. To tell the truth, none of them can hope to compete for a second with the old moaners of Sleaford Mods, infinitely times drier and more biting, musically and politically. Same observation on the grime side, where apart from Stormzy and hard-line veterans like Jme who tackle the angry questions, the kitties seem to have decreed that the dice were definitely loaded to be interested in the undermining, the girls and their productions. In this context, which is nothing but distressing, HMLTD occupies a rather interesting place. No longer quite young – their first single already dates back to 2016 -, not exactly confirmed – the group released their first album this February 7 – HMLTD gives in a sharp and exuberant neo-glam halfway between Soft Cell on drugs synthesis and Duran Duran from the year 3000.
And succeeds in being as political in substance as in form: in addition to the words which approach in a sometimes very imaginary way toxic masculinity or climatic deregulation, the group, based in London, is also a heterogeneous assembly of French, Greeks and English which, in itself, makes HMLTD an anti-Brexit affirmation much more pleasing and effective than any burning protest against vinyl engraving limited to 500 copies. To spoil nothing, West of Eden succeeds quite easily, with uninhibited productions and delirious refrains, a gleaming marriage between excess 1980 and hangover 2020 (and vice-versa) without ever falling into the retro porn nor in the high concept. But above all, HMLTD is a group like England no longer has the courage to do: flamboyant (it looks like the Germs disguised as Roxy Music) and pretentious (the biography that accompanies the album invokes pell-mell Ballard and l ‘Old Testament). This is precisely what has made the power and glory of British groups over the centuries. It doesn’t matter that this country no longer knows where it is. It does not matter that we have arrived at this point in history when the rare exciting groups are found everywhere (France, Belgium, Australia) except at home. As long as he throws groups as childish and engaging as HMLTD, we will keep both eyes on him.
Lelo Jimmy Batista
HMLTD West of Eden (Lucky Number)