Sprezzatura - Ease of manner, studied carelessness; the appearance of acting or being done without effort. 'the nonchalance which marks...the perfect artist'.
'Sprezzatura' is Hirameka Hi-Fi's first album proper. Recorded exactly 4 years on from the date of their formation, it concludes the trilogy which began with 1999's well-received 'A Proud Tradition Of Failure' and developed with 2000's radio hit 'The Imperfect Approach'.
Always hyper-sensitive, HHF have designed this recording with precise cuts and sweet showers of accident, embracing their fears and weaknesses to conceive...the HHF aesthetic. This is a point of departure. This is the first of many HHF records. This is a moment, a means to an end.
The usual long-distance nature of the band was rejected with disgust. They crammed together for one whole month in that scraping heat of Summer 01, harmonising diets and drinking nought but water. They left their womb-like domicile solely to toil for hours in a sun-shot sweatbox. Shyly, painfully, they orchestrated buzzes, scratches and clatters. They let the innards out, made them wallow, let the stuff which made them great just grow and sublimate. By the end they were sore but sharp. They had hacked out the evanescent outline of beauty. They laughed and slapped each other's backs, taking in the late afternoon sun in the dusty yard outside the room. Within hours, The Electric Press (Bob Tilton, Spy vs Spy) had arrived to record them. And so it was that on the cusp of Autumn, the songs were dashed down in minutes on (lucky) 7 track tape recorder.
Let's cut the crap. The resulting record represents their most accessible and satisfying work. From the fatal jerk of 'Take On The Break', thru the sweltering swoop of 'All A-tremble', by way of the rampant, rollicking 'Redemption Kicker', to the ragged shuffle of the title track. Battles are fought and won in the course of these tunes. The sweet swooning sweep of 'In Our Time' is the album's true centrepiece. Propped up by the warm groove and ice shard guitar stabs of 'Hesitation Rules', it flicks a brave shining V at all snide opponents before ushering the heavy curtain of darkness that falls by command of the final two songs, the cool closing twins - 'The Sum' with its minimalist workout and growling urgency, and 'Eavesdrop' with its crumpled warm waves of distortion, hopeful bass, chunky drums and haunting lazarus piano.
Drummer Ben Wright was asked to contribute to this tract. He shrugged off the thought of words, grimaced at the thought of writing about the tunes. Beaming, he roared, 'Bring it on!', and wandered away. So, come now, and 'bring it on'. For Ben.
Recorded by The Electric Press.
Mastered by Kenneth Macleod.
Australia - Rocket
Benelux - Suburban
Canada - F.A.B.
Finland - Supersounds
France - Differ-ant
Germany - Cargo Records
Italy - Goodfellas
Spain - Popstock
New Zealand - Southbound
Scandinavia - Border
United States - Red Eye and Forced Exposure