Hysterical Injury play the juxtaposition game with ease. A two-piece band that can sound like an alt-rock tour bus crashing through the front of a music shop, sing song, nursery rhyme vocals over skittering, angular rhythms, lilting, pastoral passages falling into an abyss of industrial strength post-punk-isms. Everything seems at odds with everything else and somehow it works spectacularly well.
Across 4 tracks they evoke the spirit of alternative college rock at its finest, Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Husker Du and Throwing Muses all work as passing references but they manage not to sacrifice their English roots along the way. Under Milk Wood is a jarring collection of staccato grooves and Blood on The Daisy is a haunted piece of work made even more surreal by a vocal delivery that carries something of Japanese theatre about it.
But it is Woken With a Warning that is the high point for me. A slow, claustrophobic build eventually delivers a crescendo of crashing cymbals, brooding bass lines and a wonderful cacophony of noise as music, relentless, experimental and hypnotic. By the time Ready to Burst has arrived, reached its squalling finale and run off screaming into the night you feel as if you have been kicked to the floor but in a perverse sort of way, having enjoyed every moment of the beating.
Hysterical Injury have never been one for compromise, no eye on the mainstream or chart accessible singles here, but if you like music that confronts, challenges and leaves you confused then they will give you everything you need.
And yes the artwork is meant to be the wrong way up. See…uncompromising.