Grungy, seductive, and lusciously poisonous, Winnipeg’s This Hisses are a band I have been aching to see live for ages. They are often categorized as surf rock – as their album title Surf Noir alludes to – but there is more sepia than sunblock in their sound, as much cabaret as beach. Vocalist Julia Ryckman is a former opera singer, and her powerful voice has a maple smokiness and can suddenly turn sharp as a broken bottle. “Gold On Fire” is an ominous, throbbing track that threads its way sinuously around the listener’s throat before suddenly tightening like a merciless noose. The organic, grooving drums roll and crash like a blue-black tide coming in at midnight, and the fuzzed-out guitar tone conjures a kind of distortion somewhere between the romantic sensation of gazing tinted glass, and the panic of trying to see through a film of blood. Hypnotic and haunting, a smouldering sucker punch of a song.
This Hisses will be performing at NXNE at The Rochester (423 College Street) on Saturday, June 16th at 8pm. Listen to Gold on Fire here.