Ireland’s flourishing scene keeps consistently producing exciting bands – Altered Hours are one of these acts, who after previous small imprints on Anton Newcombe’s label, have returned with their debut full length, ‘In Heat Not Sorry’.

The real stand out track here is ‘Way of Sorrow’ – with the rhythm section engulfed in a woolly fuzz, it thrusts and stabs its way through unapologetically. Everything else is propelled along at such intensity in those two and a half minutes, and it’s traumatic in the best possible sense – an unnerving yet thrilling start to the album.

Elsewhere on the record it can begin to feel patchier – the album is not consistent in its overall dynamic, with drastic peaks and troughs which don’t feel planned. The record doesn’t choose to wear the weathered skins of shoe-gaze constantly, it merely animates its corpse in intervals – sometimes producing something momentarily beautiful, if not a hint contrived.

‘Silver Leather’ and ‘Citadel’ would be perfect examples of this – Kevin Shields should probably get royalties for the former. However, Altered Hours are clearly exceptional at what they do – they are intentionally distasteful (in the best possible way) with their blend of lo-fi and garage, thundering through the darkness, giving off some momentary miraculous bursts of light.

Flickers of great exhilaration hum atonally throughout this album still, leaving us yearning for more. It’s a promising and exciting debut… perceptive, belligerent and unforgiving, Altered Hours have broken through the sound barriers and to the forefront of the underground.

The Altered Hours – ‘In Heat Not Sorry’
Out now on Art for Blind Records

Words by Jack Stevens