WHAT: The Hip Abduction
WHEN: Friday, May 13, 9 p.m.
WHERE: Gottrocks, 200 Eisenhower Drive, Greenville
INFO: 864-235-5519; gottrocksgreenville.com
The difference between the Florida septet The Hip Abduction’s 2013 album and their new one, “Gold Under the Glow,” is startling. The 2013 self-titled album is reggae to the core. There are a few moments where the band stretches its groove out into jam-band territory, but for the most part, the band sticks to laid-bank Jamaican rhythms.
Which is what makes “Gold Under the Glow” such a surprise. The backbeats are more influenced by African and Caribbean styles, with polyrhythmic percussion bubbling up throughout the songs. And the mostly organic sound has been replaced by a new electronic sheen, with synthesized sounds washing over just about every song. It’s still as danceable – and as soulful – as their last record, but it’s coming from an entirely different set of influences.
“I don’t think we go into an album thinking, ‘From this point moving forward, we’re going to be a little more electronic, or we’re going to totally change the next album,’” says The Hip Abduction’s singer, songwriter and guitarist, David New. “I think it’s more of, ‘You are what you eat.’ I’d been listening to a lot of West African music and electronic music like Daft Punk, so that’s what led to the direction of this record.”
New says that despite the change in direction, he feels that the basic thrust of the songs on “Gold Under the Glow” is just the same as on the previous two albums (their debut was 2011’s “One Less Sound”). “Even though the songs are a little more electronic-infused, I still think it takes people to the same place,” he says. “It’s still got that island or more tropical feel, whatever the fans call it. The songs changed, but I don’t think it’s been anything too drastic. In fact, the fans love it; it’s done a lot better than the last one.”
To be fair, though, the band’s fans probably had an inkling about what was coming, simply because the album’s songs were a part of the band’s live show for months before they were recorded. “I always try to play a song for a couple months at least before we record it,” New says. “There are songs on the new album that we played for six or nine months before we tracked them. I always try to see how the fans react and make sure it grooves with the rest of the music. It’s nice to do that before recording them.”
The band, which will play Gottrocks in Greenville this Friday, worked with producer Dabney Morris for the first time on “Gold Under the Glow,” and New says that he was thrilled with the experience. “Dabney was awesome,” he says. “In the past we’d go in, and the producer wouldn’t have heard our music beforehand. We’d play it live in the studio and use those recordings and go from there. Dabney was involved five or six months before we even went into the studio. He really helped to shape the sound. It was nice to work with someone who was involved from the very beginning. When we were putting down demos, he was already suggesting keyboard sounds. He’s really into old synths and analog sounds. It was really cool experimenting with sounds, not just recreating something that came out of a box. It was really nice to have someone who was that involved.”