Here's an album review from Laurel Johnston at mydentonmusic.com:
I always think of music in terms of what I feel like I should be doing as I'm listening. There are songs for road trips, songs to cook by, songs to soften the road for a lone jogger. While I have yet to come up with a suitable genre to describe Hatch, I would say that Hatch plays songs to think thoughts to. At first that seems like an oversimplified description for a group who is one of the brightest stars in Denton's musical constellation. But while I was listening, I realized that this is the perfect music to muse to. This is a group whose staggering amount of unique musical ideas stimulates their audience to think of music in a different way, something that most bands aspire to but never achieve.
I guess it's only fitting that they sound like a stream of consciousness coming directly from their brains and instruments to your ears, especially when considering they're unfettered by written music. Hatch is band of musicians who are like live-instrument DJs: they each pick and choose genres and styles to play in, but like truly masterful spinners they know when to layer, switch tracks, and repeat.
Hatch features Nick Earl on guitar/ sound creation, Clark Erickson and Justin Stanton on keys, Mike Hodges, Nate Werth, and Nick Werth on percussion, James Martinez on saxophone, Elliot Morgan on the bass, and Mike Shields on trumpet. To purchase their album, hit them up on their myspace or contact Nick Werth at www.nickwerth.com
The first song begins with a voice saying "Open the hatch. Let's see what our destiny looks like" I was hooked from the start, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why I was hooked. The music is so chill, it almost lulls you into thinking it's simple. At first the saxophone and keyboard seem shy, only playing little snippets here and there. The bass stands out as one tirelessly funky voice in this tune. Towards the middle of the track the sax begins to play more venturous solos, the trumpet sprinkling fanfares on top. The drums edge their way in, adding more and more cymbal crashes until they suddenly fade away for the guitar solo. They all come back together for the final minute or so, repeating particularly interesting or plaintive refrains or playing variations on the melody line.
The song begins as expansively as an Indian raga, holding nothing back as lush lines spiral out in every direction. A solemn Native American voice advises us from the musical ether "If you're not spiritually connected to the Earth, it's likely you will not make it". The bass comes in with a repeated theme, making this song sound apocalyptic before adding this crazy distortion, and then suddenly it vanishes and they bring us back to the first part of the song. The song then dissolves into a cacophony of solos before fading into silence. Our mysterious speaker says his next lines without sorrow, without apology: "For me it's not a negative thing to know that there will be great changes. Nothing stays the same. Mother Earth is reacting."
This song is like the snappier, retooled version of the previous song's main theme. There's a fat bass sound to coat the bottom and lots of perky cymbal crashes on top, a raunchy and somehow urgent guitar strumming, the hollow background bells adding a distant layer of cool. Guitarist Nick Earl really shines on this track, his guitar licks getting increasingly more outrageous but still remaining within the boundaries of pitch and time, the melancholy keys lurking around the edges. James Martinez takes Nick's solo and makes it his own, his sax at first chipper, then squealing in opposition to the bass. The keys lurch into dissent, and the drums increase, then suddenly cease along with a vibrant chord. This song could be described as 'spooky space jazz', the kind of music they would play in a futuristic horror film.
4. Closest to the Sun
There's something excited and foreboding in the bass and lonely in the sax, like watching the last scene of a thriller where you know the hero is going to die but you can't wait to see the explosion that kills him because you know it's going to be spectacular. By the time the band works itself into a frenzy, the drums are all doing different things but somehow sounding like one solid machine. The sax and trumpet solos float weightless on top of the keys, bells, and drums. All percussion but drumsticks comes in with a faint whistling sound. Again, that ominous bass line comes back briefly and then fades with the song.
Voice over "We've tried everything from a blow torch to a diamond"
I love the synth effects at the beginning of this track; they're just enough to make you lean forward in your chair to try and sort out the new sound. The drums are funky with a little bit of jazz, and the bass and guitar both sound especially nasty on this track. The at first languid, then punchy sax and staccato trumpet interjections add unique textures. The synth effects come back for the last minute of the song, adding that extra kick that is only accentuated by the drum rolls and guitar shreds. The fading chaotic clamor at the end comes to a halt quickly before melting seamlessly into the next song.
6. Mind Control
The echoes of the muted trumpet and sax in this song are very 2001: A Space Odyssey. The sax solo sounds faraway, as if it's being played inside a vacuum or inside our own heads. The trumpet accents the important notes, the bass line sticking with the drums. I love the bass line on this tune, it's very simple but it supports the song so well it's almost hard to discern in the din. At about ten minutes, they switch gears, mixing more varied drumming with the soaring trumpet line. The last three minutes are drum-free, but with the addition of bells and an actual piano on top.
7. Take Over
This is the kind of song that features movement within a time signature that I can almost wrap my head around. Meanwhile, Hatch just sits back, smiles smugly, and says "What time signature?" The piano and sax at the beginning are very jazz influenced, the bass walking busily beneath them. I like the solo use of drumsticks in this song, they add an extra-light layer of percussive sound. I love the guitar solo that's about halfway through the song, it sounds so silky smooth. The bass and drums fall back to let the guitar take off and fly, and the last minute of the song feels like the extra-flexible stretch you can achieve after running a few miles. You can tell the band is winding down, but they're still pretty hot from the run.
8. Behind the Falls
The first chord in this song gives me chills, and I'm reminded of the parable of the frog in a saucepan that doesn't notice the water's boiling until it's too late. I love how disjointed the bass line is at the beginning, something about it sounds gritty and raw. Elliot is one of the few bass players in Denton that I immediately pick out by ear, not just because he can easily traverse different styles but because he infuses so much personality into his music. About halfway through, there's this beautiful drums/ bells/ sax interlude with a sweet little trumpet solo on top.
The final track is a relentlessly funky tour de force, and it's clear that every single player is pulling out all the stops. If I had to label this song, I would say that it's like peppy psychedelic jazz fusion. They transition from happy-go-lucky land to the more ethereal realm with ease, only to bring it back up to full throttle at the end. This song is the epitome of what Hatch is all about: because they aren't bound by traditional song parameters, they can change the tempo/texture/direction of the song with ease while remaining within the general framework of the song.