London W1 Mars Bar

London W1 Mars Bar

Punk rock...made by men from Colchester who call themselves Hi-Fi, even when it's not strictly true...

Himareka Hi-Fi’s singer, Chris, can’t bring himself to look the crowd in the eye. This is largely because he’s just 17, and is concentrating intensely on playing his guitar. Hirameka’s lanky bass player Steve, on the other hand, is quite prepared to injure them, having just leapt offstage and started stalking around in what should be the moshpit, transported by the ragged sounds howling behind him. This is because he’s just 17 too, he’s got inverted crucifixes painted on his shirt pockets, and he doesn’t care what the crowd think of him.

Punk rock, in other words. Or a terrific racket made by young men from Colchester who may call themselves Hi-Fi, even when it’s not strictly true.

Hirameka Hi-Fi like Sonic Youth, you gather from their pealing guitar lines and lo-fi dynamics. But they sound nothing like Urusei Yatsura, the last band to take the Youth as a starting point.

Rather, the Hi-Fi make sprawling, hardcore-derived mini-epics with sometimes seesawing, sometimes churning rhythms, called things like ‘Danny Faster’ and ‘Hold It Up’. They have intros to die for and passion in spades, but precious few recognisable tunes. Still, that matters little. If Hirameka are a little unformed, they are not untutored, boasting the kind of record collection from which a mighty things could grow. Turn the Hi-Fi up, and in time, they’ll bring the noise.