Sweeping Promises – ‘Hunger For A Way Out’ review: raw and urgent basement bangers

A titanic debut album serving up basement grooves and raw post-punk spirit

At a desolate intersection of post-punk and new wave stands Boston-based revivalists Sweeping Promises, with a debut album custom-built for jangly lo-fi apologists with angular discord and indie-pop fizz. ‘Hunger for a Way Out’ comes into a world in which Debbie Harry is a style icon for the Stranger Things-generation and once-underground Belarusian punks Molchat Doma are on TikTok. There’s a new cross-appeal for this riff-ready rock with eyes in its back, both lo-fi but searingly tight and well-produced, anthemic and experimental.

It’s a daring move to open with a title track that’s this good – really, ‘Hunger for a Way Out’ is an instant classic, thick with ‘80s retro-surf nostalgia and a jabbing ‘Isolation’-era Joy Division bass riff, deftly sidestepping pastiche with its forward-thinking DIY ethos both compassionate and furious with the ways of the world. You’d think we’d be in danger of peaking in the opening two minutes, but the same bassline is leant to follow-up ‘Cross Me Out’, and the album magically spirals into a series of Black Francis-esque stabs as expansive, danceable and complete as any of their transatlantic contemporaries.

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Lira Mondal’s vocals are nothing short of perfect in her new home, elevating the more brooding ‘Blue’ to incantatory ‘Upright’. From fronting dreamy Boston guitar-trio Mini Dresses, her words here ring free from reverb with an electrifying clarity. The old-school monaural recording only occasionally dampens the echoing there-in-the-room potential of ‘Hunger’; mostly, we’re a few fish impressions from hearing the earthly sonic companion to the B-52’s’ ‘Rock Lobster’.

This is raw, urgent basement music, hurtling through as many gems as possible before the lights come up. We’ve got ten of them here. “You can’t miss out on this,” she sings on closing track ‘Trust’, which sums this titanic debut as well as we can.

Details

  • Release date: August 14
  • Record label: Feel It Records
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