HiM – Egg

2 out of 5

Label: Perishable

Produced by: Doug Scharin

…And look, he’s brought his little Rex playmates with him!  While ‘Egg’ certainly portends some of the elements that would become the HiM bag of tricks – electronics and drums, shifting rhythms, a world music influence, repetition repetition repetition – Scharin’s first release under the moniker pretty much sounds like Rex’s drummer got loose and quickly scrabbled some songs together and hit record while his overlords looked on, lovingly, bebopping their various instruments to Douggie’s whims.  Egg even comes packaged with that dreadfully murky Rex production sound, which – dreadful and murky though it is – adds an interestingly curious layer to some tracks, but it just doesn’t serve Doug’s intentions to well, as his layered compositions are better released with crisper fidelity.

Opener ‘Creality’ is a fine example of this, one of a few songs / moments on the disc that actually comes across as a real composition and not just a hope for one, but the fascinating drumming is buried under that heavy production.  Elsewhere, things hardly congeal into anything satisfying; ‘Sweatshop (3 x 5)’ is an acceptable ska / dub mash, but it’s not fleshed out enough to sustain its 5 minutes, and then Doug repeats the same shtick on the followup track ‘Three On a Tree,’ only much more sloppily.  ‘E-Bola’ is an interesting build up of horn squeals and frightening feedback, it’s just way out of place on the disc, and sequenced at the tail end of go-nowhere ‘Painted Egg,’ so its a wasted experiment.  ‘Bookkeeper’ remembers to pick things up a bit, leading into closer ‘Law,’ which, like ‘Creality’ seems to actually realize what a HiM song can be.  It goes on a bit at 10+ minutes, but at least it gives the album fairly solid bookends.

Thankfully, we know that Scharin went on to much better than this.  Had this been my first impression of HiM… well, I doubt I’d own the rest of their albums.