After a 5 year long wait, Alpha Strategy returns with their latest release, Staple My Hand to Yours, a mind bending, noisy jam of an EP with simplistic instrumentation, intense vocals, and a raw production. Others have tried to compare this band with other acts such as The Jesus Lizard or The Birthday Party, but what these guys do truly take it to the next level. The brain-child behind the band, Rory Hinchey, originally had formed the band back in his homeland of Canada, only to move to Berlin to Toronto after their previous album The Gurgler was released under the Polish label Antena Krzyku. After the rest of the band decided to move on back, Rory decided to reform Alpha Strategy with an all new line up after moving to Prague and brings us this mind-bender of a release.
If you’re familiar with The Gurgler, you’d see how they really stuck with the original sound but only to evolve it further, having more of an aggressive bite to it, and the instrumentation, while simplistic and hypnotic at times, has an almost metallic vibrancy that is captured perfectly from Steve Albini’s masterful recording on this release and the previous. The vocals are unhinged and filled with ferocity. To me, it sounds like Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye combined into one maniac with a microphone. Truly a memorable performance and one that I am simply hooked on. The lyrics have this personal yet esoteric approach that when read alongside the music have this yearning sense of nonsensical mania. It certainly shows in the live performances as Rory truly gives all of his energy into it, which makes it that much more enjoyable for me.
There’s plenty of noise with this EP, especially on those guitars, where they twist and swirl in ways that are almost equally as unhinged as Rory’s vocal performance. The bass are just an added bonus with its chunky metallic sound that just adds that extra impact on every track. The drums are also truly something to note. Punchy and filled with plenty of angst that adds some great atmosphere to the tracks. Steve Albini’s expert production really shines on through and helps these guys along in a great way.
A truly impactful return for Alpha Strategy and a good return to form as the band is back from its hiatus. The all new line-up seems like a great step forward and the future certainly is looking bright for the band. Looking forward to many more releases to come.