If theatrical punk ska pop with a euphoric jumping beat and slither of a dark underbelly is your thing, then this is your lucky day. Roll Up To The Crazy Sound Of Hogchoker by, erm, Hogchoker, is actually the Shanghai-based band’s eighth studio album, although you’d be forgiven for missing the first seven since the group are relatively (entirely?) unknown outside the Shanghai band circuit. More’s the pity, because they have managed to serve up a joyously macabre treat here.
Opening with the acid ska of Hogchoker Runnin’ Away Wid Yer Baby, to the thrashing punk of Annie Get Your Skates On, the theatrical Roll Up, and the 50s rock ’n’ roll homage Shake That Ass Hogchoker take us on a wild tour through audio landscapes that are at once uplifting and disconcerting. Eclectic seems something of an understatement, given that the album not only fuses musical genres but geographical regions too, with influences from Brazil, China, Argentina, Jamaica, France and the Balkans, to name but a selection. Oh, and they even manage to squeeze in collaborations with opera singer Ernesto Bauer, as well as Horace Andy, formerly of Massive Attack, and reggae legends Big Youth and Max Romeo.
Too many cooks spoiling the broth? Not at all. On the contrary, there is definitely some kind of method in the madness, because it somehow, weirdly, all comes together wonderfully.