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For a band so obsessed with the chillier frontiers of experimental rock, Hood refuses to stay frozen. Cold House, from 2001, was a watermark for the English group, crystallizing its aqueous post-rock into a new, glitteringly austere form of pop. But where House enclosed its digital chisel work in claustrophobic walls of ice, Outside Closer inches ever nearer to sunlight and liberation. Ditching the Kid A-isms and Anticon fetish of earlier days, Hood's sound has taken a convoluted path backward to the Too Pure heyday of Seefeel and Pram, layering lush orchestral swells over disjointed skeletons of arpeggios and melancholia. Glitch-free and more clinical than Clinic, Closer has jabbed its razor-edged ethereality outward rather than in, dabbling in dub even as it bends circuits toward a warmer, more organic end. Thirteen years in, Hood is surely not about to shed its frostbitten shell. But cracks abound in Closer, fissures through which lush greenery -- and a more immediate humanness -- can be seen.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller

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