Hood | WIG148 | Released: 17/01/05
'Outside Closer' foregrounds a new directness and boldness for Hood. The Leeds 4 piece have made a bright, brave and modern record. It's full of surprise, originality, soul, and venom - just like 'pop' music should be. "We wanted it to jump out of the speakers'' explains Richard Adams "and to make it emotionally draining. Anti-indie/tronic. Big rather than small. Not background music. Not necessarily 'nice'."We decided to move away from the electronic side of things.
The LP is song orientated and features totally different production styles to the last LP (Cold House). The tracks are all quite different as we worked on them all over a long period of time, adding to them, taking things off, putting them back on, taking them off again then putting them back on as the final step before taking them off and ending up exactly where we started." The album was produced in Leeds with Choque Hosein (formerly of Black Star Liner) and features a no star cast of local musicians helping out. Following on from their cLOUDDEAD assisted work on 'Cold House' Hood enjoy looking in new places for collaborators. ''We like using people we find in nooks and crannies, sympathisers if you will - one of the guys is an acclaimed Cuban musician, one of them is 'permanently arrested' anti-capitalist agitator - it just gets your eyes open a bit to other ways of working'', explains Richard.
Though they barely sound like either, Hood's aesthetic has previously been compared to that of Underworld's Karl Hyde or The Streets' Mike Skinner for the astuteness with which they evoke the minutiae of their immediate environment. Future single 'The Negatives' would suggest that the Adams brothers find their epiphanies in lengthy winter walks rather than (or as well as?) Ecstasy or brandy: "Go to the furthest place from your house", they urge, "Stand there a while / Make sure you're broke / And watch the birds fly round!" "Our love of the great outdoors has been well documented," reiterates Chris Adams, "Please refer to all our LPs, singles, tapes, compilation appearances, flexis, MP3s, artwork, interviews, general conversations and holiday destinations." On an old single '(The) Weight', Hood intimated that they would sabotage their local railway system so that a lover didn't have to go home.
'Outside Closer' might reference such actions again. On the cyclical 'End of One Train Working', it's as if the group have fulfilled this threat without actually achieving the anticipated aim: "Where is the train ride home?" they wonder, "Where is the love we had?" 'The Negatives' seems to find them covering the train line with leaves as a means of subversion. Hood become defined by such acts of gentle insurrection. Is the track title 'This Is It, Forever' an allusion to the end of Hood? "We've probably been the only band ever to announce our split in song ('Hood Is Finished') and then not split," suggests Richard, "So I don't know." Don't be fooled, 'Outside Closer' is a New Morning for Hood.