Review: When understanding HTRK, atmosphere trumps genre

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Review: When understanding HTRK, atmosphere trumps genre

Words by Matthew Parnell

It's hard to place HTRK's genre. It's a goth take on friendship with the polish of a band who have been going since ’03.

‘Hate Rock’ is a great name for a band. For a band who’ve been at it for a long time, it’s really difficult to find bands to associate with HTRK.

Maybe that’s because they’re so comfortable in what they do and who they are that they don’t need to put themselves in a group. Maybe they’ve played themselves into a group of one.

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If you do go looking for a comparison, maybe ‘genre’ isn’t the best way to go about it. Any comparisons would be atmosphere-based.

They list their inspirations for this upcoming album as country music, mostly for the songwriting and the economy of words. In the way they effortlessly fill the soundscape they feel like Dark Water. Quasi-goth rock that doesn’t allow labels to adhere to it.

As such, it’s difficult to address the sound. A duo, yes, but they feel like it’s part of a greater whole. The song deals with the trappings of friendship, tying in with the ideas of rhinestones addressed in the album proper.

Conceptually, a rhinestone given by a friend can have greater subjective value than a diamond. These overarching themes give a real lens through which to view the album, which helps given the otherwise lack of anything tangible.

To be clear, the lack of tangibility is something that works for them. It feels developed, curated, the works.

Plus, the release is part of a greater project by their label Heavy Machinery records that centres around Melbourne’s laneways. The project, called ‘Flash Forward’, aims to premiere works by musicians and visual artists later in 2021.

Despite the initial high barrier for entry, HTRK are a lot of fun and – restrictions willing – ‘Flash Forward’ looks like a suitably ambitious project for them to be a part of.

HTRK’s ‘Valentina’ can be bought here. Their upcoming album ‘Rhinestones’ releases September 17th.