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Album Review

It came as some surprise when, in early 2013, it was announced that Daniel Blumberg was to leave Yuck after just one self-titled album that fizzed, popped, and fuzzed excitedly with an early-'90s indie rock spirit. Blumberg, along with Max Bloom, had previously been the driving force behind twee indie popsters Cajun Dance Party, who were lauded by the press and labeled the next big thing circa 2008 before the pair broke away to create something far moodier and indebted to the likes of Sonic Youth and Pavement. This musical U-turn appeared to be just what Daniel Blumberg had wanted but, if Unreal is anything to go by, he is keen to dig further away from the mainstream still to find his place with Hebronix. Consisting of six tracks but clocking in at over 45 minutes in length, Unreal begins with "Unliving," itself breaking the ten-minute barrier without remorse. Sporadic acoustic strums and sparse vocals lead into a promising electric build that results in a somber two-chord bounce that occasionally breaks its mold to reveal interesting guitar lines but never shakes the feeling that it could have been a couple of minutes shorter. The immediacy that was scattered throughout the Londoner's previous projects has been well and truly replaced with long-haul ethics here but "Viral," the shortest song on offer, does at least leave the door slightly ajar to Yuck fans as Blumberg shows off his talent for an effortlessly catchy chorus. "Wild Whim" then establishes itself as Unreal's linchpin. A melancholic breakup number, the song makes better use of its time than "Unliving," bobbing and weaving its way to create a hazy summer full of regret and tension that manifests itself in the form of a wall of distortion joining and then eventually smothering a shimmering guitar pattern. Neil Hagerty's production and experience in this particular style with Royal Trux really helps to provide the sonic structure Hebronix needs in places, although it's often a losing battle as Blumberg insists that more is more. For example, the title track picks up where "Wild Whim" leaves off but unfortunately fails to justify its seven-minute stay. But when the ambitious nature of Unreal works, it really does work. "Garden" is a slice of pop that takes time out from the Built to Spill excursions of Unreal to lean more toward the sideways meanderings of Gruff Rhys or Flaming Lips, eventually providing us with a gentle and wonderfully subtle yet cinematic string section. And as Blumberg puts on his Neil Young hat and laments "I've got some things to do/Some private things to do" on closer "The Plan," one can't help but think that, although perhaps overly self-indulgent at times, Hebronix could well prove fruitful.

Customer Reviews

Crazy Good Dudes

Was super bummed out that Daniel left Yuck, but this is great! Worth buying the whole album for the extra song. Don't just sit around you fools, get to it!


Born: 2013 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Having parted ways with indie rockers Yuck in early 2013, Daniel Blumberg wasted little time in announcing his new solo project, Hebronix. While Yuck traveled to New York to record their second album -- with Max Bloom on lead vocals in his longtime musical partner's stead -- London-born Blumberg put the finishing touches to Unreal. The album was produced by Neil Hagerty of Royal Trux and first introduced to fans via the dreamy, college rock sound of its title track....
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Hebronix

Unreal, Hebronix
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