Everyone has those couple of friends in college that just kind of sit around and play guitar riffs over some drums, get high, someone starts singing, and they end up just rocking out to nothing (this usually takes place at about 2 in the morning while you're trying to sleep). In most situations I would have just described the makings of a thousands bands, but, as in the case of Hella, there are a few steps skipped there. Hella are perhaps the simplest and most complex band I have ever heard.
Total Bugs Bunny On Wild Bass is the minimalist album of the year. Some people think the White Stripes take the cake when it comes to a stripped down sound, but where the White Stripes have their strengths, Jack White's voice, and weaknesses, Hella really take it one step further. First of all, and most absent, there are no vocals. Personally, I usually can't stand instrumental music, but this album takes it to a different level. Secondly, it is as if this album is produced completely electronically because some of the directions that the music goes are just so impressive for just a drummer a guitarist (known conspicuously only as Zach and Spencer respectively).
The constructs of this album are so good they are borderline confusing. The only thing that I can really think of to compare it to is the überodd Aphex Twin. Yes, I am going to actually compare this band to one of the modern-day greats of techtronica, Mr. Richard D. James.
I would go into the depths that each track of Total Bugs Bunny On Wild Bass goes, but there really is no need to, because I would be here for pages and pages. Sometimes you just need to know when to give a band that you have never heard of before a chance, and if you are up for something new and different, the Hella should be your boys. I will warn that Hella are not for everyone. If you are a staunch believer that music is only tolerable if it has vocals, or you positively hate all forms of techno, then I would recommend you crawl back under your sheltered suburban rock and never, ever try and expand your puny closed mind. For everyone else, with whom think there is even the outside possibility of your liking this band, all you need to do is to check out the video that comes along on Total Bugs Bunny On Wild Bass, for the track "Brown Metal" (which is not included on the album) and you should be convinced.
Sometimes all you need is a guitar, some drums, a little creativity, and an urgent need to rock. That is pretty much all Hella is, but DAMN are they impressive.
Jason Cipriano is the Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.