Hive Dwellers, The
Hewn From the Wilderness (KLP241)
The Hive Dwellers 2012 album is the essence of rock'n'roll moved from the garage to the basement to the rec room and then back out into the wild. Calvin Johnson plays guitar and sings his songs in combination with Gabriel Will on assorted stringed instruments and the contributions of several drummers who have made their mark on the Hive Dwellers: Spencer Kelley, Brett Lyman and K.E.Sixx.
The Hive Dwellers have toured the U.S. twice around and saturated the Northwest with their action-packed sound over the last three years. Following some carefully-crafted out-of-control studio wizardry in Olympia's Dub Narcotic Studio they emerged with this, a debut album, Hewn from the Wilderness [KLP241]. Said studio wizardry was enhanced by the presence of Dub Narcotic regulars who lent their instrumental and production prowess to stunning effect: Karl Blau, Fred Thomas and Brett Lyman, all of who have played on or produced recordings of their own plus those of Chain & the Gang, LAKE, the Curious Mystery and Arrington de Dionyso. Heavy potatoes.
What does it all mean? The album contains the life force behind K and of what Calvin believes rock’n’roll sounds like: simply stitched beat-centric guitar, hollowed-out drums and muscley vocals. Through the Dub Narcotic musical underground his deep hypnotic singing voice drives lyrics like “the beating of my foolish tell-tale heart” straight to the old schooler heart in all of us, and his fervor for a more primitive, 60’s garage sound is unapologetically dance-driven: Calvin wants you to dance, and he wants to dance with you. Remember that throwback sentiment “it sent me”-- as in, this music has such idiosyncratic joy I find myself rejuvenated, even delivered, after hearing it? Remember when you weren’t afraid to dance like a puppet, wave your arms or bob your head because no one cared—it was all about the music, about getting to it, not getting it? Remember that perfect summer at the perfect age with those perfect friends? Hewn from Wilderness captures those feelings of wistful indulgence; it’s warm yet wild, sparse and fresh, and real Northwest rock’n’roll.