Personnel: Spencer Seim (guitar, keyboards); Zach Hill (drums).
Audio Mixers: Hella; Andy Morin.
Making a literal return to form, Hella trim back down to a duo on their hyperkinetic fifth album, Tripper. While the addition of a fuller, more traditional lineup made for an interesting diversion for the band, Hella excel at doing more with less, stripping away distractions like vocals and bringing the sound back to the knotty, mind-boggling madness that made them a noise rock staple. This stripped-down, back-to-basics approach gives Tripper a free and open sound, as if Hella are really cutting loose for the first time in years and letting out all of the pent-up energy they've been holding onto for the past four years, as if the pressure has been building up and the dam has finally burst. This frantic release gives them a kind of spastic, jagged sound that puts them somewhere between Lightning Bolt and an actual bolt of lightning, and makes Tripper an album that's more likely to wear listeners out physically than mentally. ~ Gregory Heaney