After a slew of demo releases and their very stark 2012 release Absalom, Waterloo’s creep-folk duo Hinindar, are no longer shrouded in dark and impermeable shadows in their latest full-length release, Honest Work. The earnest approach to folk-rooted music as heard in their previous work — actually many of the songs from the new album are scattered as demos throughout their catalogue — is maintained in Honest Work, but what surrounds this core, contrastingly, is a fullness.
In a blend of acoustic and electric guitars, a creaky piano, a warm percussion section, and various other stray sonic noises, the composition of Honest Work satisfies in a way that Hinindar previously did not.
The title track immediately introduces Honest Work with Hinindar’s new confident sound. While Steve Sloane’s voice particularly resinates in this gritty opening, in a later track “Lose My Body,” Sloane sounds like Attack in Black era Daniel Romano so much, I had to make sure that my music didn’t change without me knowing.
Although it starts off almost menacing, a warm chorus of never-fail catchy “Oohs” in “Mad Dog” gives it a pop feeling that had previously not been heard from the band. In the following track, “Hard Light,” quiet moments that feel like personal confessions change to an intensity that allows for the song’s emotions to reach a healthy peak.
While the quieter songs scattered throughout Honest Work, “Shelia,” “City Dwelling Brothers,” and “Withered Soul” for instance, all merit thoughtful reflection, the riff alone in “8 Years Unknown” provides a power. Flirting with an “alt-rock” sound, “8 Years Unknown” is a song that proves Hinindar are able to handle a lot.
A wail of a sax and a roar of passion, “Rolling Blackouts” helps bring Honest Work to a close. One of the more simple songs from the album, there is still something raw about it, indulging in a self-retrospective that often comes when the power goes out and the distraction of other things are put away.
A collection of truly honest work, Hinindar is no longer hiding.
Honest Work is available to stream via Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Hard Light,” “8 Years Unknown”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)