Forget everything you know about Hookworms. OK, maybe not everything; the urgency and viscera both live and on record that led the Yorkshire-based five-piece to prominence across two blistering full-length LPs – 2013's Pearl Mystic and 2014 follow-up The Hum – remains. However, as they return with their much anticipated third record Microshift, the title of the record connotates more than just the intended nod to the audio plug-in their vocalist MJ regularly uses; it could also be an understatement of a three-year narrative that's brought about changing circumstances, influences and subsequent evolution.
Microshift is a record that largely pulls back the dense fug of guitars and Modern Lovers-esque blasts of organ that have become Hookworms' hallmark, replaced instead by a plethora of electronics and synthesizers. There's far more to Microshift than just rock band going electronic however; indeed, the fact it's here at all is a relief after a series of setbacks for the band. Striving through the devastation of MJ's Suburban Home Studio – not just the rehearsal and recording space of the band, but home to the producer's livelihood – as well as relationship breakups, family illness and the death of the band's close friend and live sound engineer, it is perhaps no surprise that this record is one of both defiance and darkness.
With it, Hookworms have pulled off a triumph against adversity, a comeback with what they may see as a Microshift, but which is in fact a massive step forward.