Review: Jerome Hill – Toybox Part 1 (Don’t)

Jerome Hill – Toybox Part 1 (Don’t)

Glasgow’s spring time weather is notoriously fickle, and the last few weeks have been no different as it veers between blue skies and torrential rain. This was unexpected though.

I sat down a few days ago to listen to Toy Box Part 1 and take notes. As I did it was still dry, and motes of dust fluttered in the beams of sunlight. It didn’t last. Almost as soon as the needle touched the first grooves of the record, things began to change. Suddenly, as Egg Roll’s moody beats lashed the office, the light beyond my window began to fade. No, that’s not right; it didn’t fade, it was like the light was being sucked out of the day as a cloud as black as a Tory front bencher’s soul billowed and loomed above the flats on the other side of the lane, blotting out the sky and throwing everything into terrifyingly sharp relief.

The temperature plummeted but the humidity grew oppressive, matching the tune’s wicked jack; as perfectly in sync as any laptop DJ hero. Egg Roll ended and Skez Princess’s razor-sharp breaks crackled through the room, scattering outward and hacking at the growing storm. Down came the rain. Jesus, down came the rain; thick, almost metallic sheets built from drops as fat and heavy as rivets, smacking into the tired, hot, earth and reaching back up as Skez Princess’s beats and dark matter bass filled what little room was left within the claustrophobic atmosphere.

It didn’t let up with the B-side. I know slowed the raucous energy but replaced it with a seedy intent which curled around the sound of the raindrops exploding against the roof and the glass of the window, the music and the elements conjoining, building a snarling symphony which hummed and shimmered in the thick, dead air. Mono Skank, I prayed, might slacken the damaging thirst of whatever malicious and forgotten demon had been let loose on heaven’s decks but it wasn’t to be. The tune’s proto-industrial bass line thrummed and buckled this way and that, prowling at the edge of my increasingly questionable reality. For a moment, as the beats peeled back, as the music quieted itself in preparation for the final stomp I thought I glimpsed mean old faces in the rain, laughing and gurning. And then the grooves were alive again, pumping in competition with the busy sky.

Mono Skank ended and, almost as soon as the last burst of bass had scraped itself into silence, the elemental percussion of the rain stopped. Stopped dead, as if the clouds no longer had any interest in flooding the world. I sat there for a moment, shaky and uncertain, before hoisting myself from the chair and walking over to the window. Above the smeared glass there were already patches of blue widening in the bruised evening sky. The light was returning, soft and forgiving, brightening the colours of the springtime with warmth. And I thought “if this is what it does to the weather, just imagine what it would do to you in the depths of a Friday night”. Primordial hardcore fuelled burners, fully recommended by the rain-gods themselves.