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Hair Police - Constantly Terrified

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Artist: Hair Police

Album: Constantly Terrified

Label: Troubleman Unlimited

Review date: Jun. 22, 2005

No Fun Fest 2005 was rife with big names and stellar performances, but no one compared with the intensity of Hair Police. It wasn’t just the cathartic activity onstage; the energy took hold of the audience and loomed palpably throughout the room. Hair Police were scary as hell; they hadn’t just stolen the show, they’d rendered it impotent, and while the Runzelstirn and Gurglestock film and Hecker performance that followed weren’t utter disappointments, neither came close.

Considering the Hair Police set list consisted largely of material from the upcoming Constantly Terrified, expectations for the album ran high. Predictably, the record isn’t the equal of that show – what had gone down on the stage that night would never fit into the grooves of an LP or be adequately digitized on a CD – but it’s the next best thing, and Hair Police’s most determined and complete release yet.

The insistent pulse that materializes on opener “Rattlers Echo” rises above the disc’s muffled clatter like a lighthouse’s beam through a murky Atlantic fog. The hypnotic signal acts as a siren; not in the modern sense, but the mythological, drawing the listener closer and closer. It’s the proverbial calm before the storm; after a gradual increase in musical instability, the earth splits, and a hellish racket suddenly erupts. The intensity level rarely drops thereafter, and Constantly Terrified lives up to its name with 40 minutes of relentless carnage.

Hair Police were once a rock band (granted, a severely damaged one), but not anymore. Their feverish storms of noise leave any remnants of traditional beats and riffs mangled beyond recognition. “The Haunting” is an apt title for the second track, when disembodied screams trail over stammering percussion, shredded guitar and deep, swooping electronics. “My Skull is My Face” builds from Trevor Tremaine’s steady clanging beat, upon which Robert Beatty’s electronics whine and sputter, and Mike Connelly spews scratchy, demonic growls.

The album’s title track is its opus, a 14-minute gauntlet of tension and release. Like the opener, it percolates for over half of its duration, before exploding into a hazy cloud of ragged sound. Dead Machine John Olson lends his saxophone skills, often becoming engulfed in the detritus before the cacophony slowly grinds to a heavy halt.

On Constantly Terrified, Hair Police descend completely into the muck and mire, but their music rises above, and looms darkly overhead. This is like a bad nightmare, with evil lurking behind even it’s quietest moments, relentless in its menace. Any naysayers should finally be silenced with this release, their mouths sewn shut and eyes forced open. Torture and terror rarely hurt so good.

By Adam Strohm

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