Album Review: Hundred Waters - Currency EP
Currency is a surprise release from Florida’s Hundred Waters, reportedly ahead of a proper full-length follow up to 2014’s beloved The Moon Rang Like A Bell. When presented with a release of this ilk, it’s hard to know how to approach it; are these songs that weren’t good enough to make the album? Was it more a case of these songs not quite fitting into the sound of the new LP? Or was this EP always planned as a completely separate release in its own right? In listening to Currency, it’s not entirely clear which of these is the truth, but we can consider it from all these different angles.
The first and most noticeable thing about Currency is that it largely eschews the darkness and pervading atmosphere of The Moon Rang Like A Bell in favour of brighter, more tropical-influenced electronics. It’s more akin to Skrillex’s star-studded remix of Moon’s opener ‘Show Me Love’ in its pristine, radio-friendly crispness. Nicole Miglis’ insistence in the opening lines of opening track ‘Jewel In My Hands’ to “Wake up come on, go on get up, get out of bed /you’re tired but this is most extraordinary,” sets the tone for the EP in terms of its bright outlook and sound. Her voice is full of the excitement she’s singing about and the synths glisten with the same energy, exemplifying the priceless jewel-like feeling that the song is about. This awe-struck view of the world is continued on the following track, where even the most normal of situations is transformed into something elemental. ‘Particle’ is about a couple on the verge of breaking up, where Miglis is imagining her and her lover “dissolving… revolving in a glass /intact and trapped.” Eventually they drift too far apart in this vast body of particles. Despite the hopeless words, the song stays upbeat and disarmingly positive-sounding.
The central two songs of the EP, ‘Takeover’ and ‘Everywhere’, show more of the weariness and worry that struck a chord on The Moon Rang Like A Bell, though they don’t quite reach the same depths. ‘Takeover’ is a reassuring ballad with a grand finish, but a fairly predictable one for the usually more creative group. ‘Everywhere’ uses one small verse of Miglis’ words and lots of subtly shifting atmosphere, to create a delightful interstitial track that would fit well on a longer album. Here, it speaks to their ambition with this release, but doesn’t quite tie the whole thing together as it might have done on an LP.
The final track is the title track, ‘Currency’, and in hearing the deep bass throb at its introduction you suddenly realise that that’s what has been missing from the first 4 tracks. ‘Currency’ hits the body-music and head-music buttons so perfectly in the way that Hundred Waters did so consistently through their last album. Combined with the shimmying synths, playful rhythm section and a host of other sounds all weaving their way into the mix, this feels like the main reason this EP exists.
Overall Currency is a nice check-in from this extremely promising band, although it won’t sate for long those fans waiting for a proper follow up. That is especially true when listening to the title track, where Hundred Waters remind us just how brilliant they can be, and I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being included in the track list for the next album. If the new LP is as consistently great as 'Currency', then it will be exceptional, and this EP will take up its rightful place as a lesser entry in their catalogue.
This article was originally published on The 405 - 28th May 2017.