A darkly cinematic new aesthetic

This Hisses refine their sound on sophomore effort Anhedonia

Triple threat: Local rock trio This Hisses - guitarist Patrick Short, singer/bassist Julia Ryckman and drummer JP Perron - began planning their second album, Anhedonia, even before the release of their 2011 debut, Surf Noir. Travis Cole

Congratulations - you’ve stopped looking at This Hisses drummer JP Perron’s moustache in the above photo long enough to read this article. We couldn’t blame you if you stopped reading right now to keep looking at it, though.

It is, after all, a fine example of a hirsute upper lip.

“JP is absolutely the most famous member of our band” because of his moustache, This Hisses singer/bassist Julia Ryckman says, before recounting the time she drove Perron home from band practice and they pulled up beside a police car.

The officer in the car motioned for them to stop. Perron rolled down his passenger side window and the officer rolled down his driver side window.

“This cop goes, ‘Nice ‘stache, man,’” Ryckman recalls, laughing.

Even the fuzz appreciate Perron’s fuzz.

Look closer at This Hisses - a trio that includes guitarist Patrick Short - and you’ll find that the band’s look doesn’t just end with its drummer’s facial hair. It was important to the band that they put together a strong visual aesthetic for the press photos, music videos and album art that accompany the release of their second album, Anhedonia.

Veils, lace, suits, dresses, pyramids, blonde triplets, a contortionist and a woman with a bejewelled face submerging herself in a bathtub full of black water - it’s all part of the video for Blacksmith, the second track on the album, which premiered on Exclaim.ca in mid-January.

“We’re a bunch of artsy kids,” Ryckman says of the band’s look. “JP loves his big moustache and has his own sense of style, Patrick cleans up real good - individually it’s something we all embrace about life, and it makes sense to do that as a band as well.”

The strong visuals definitely suit the music. Anhedonia is a stunning collection of nine darkly cinematic surf noir songs influenced by the likes of The Stooges and Nick Cave.

It took a year to release Surf Noir, and in that year our sound became distilled, refined - it really became the This Hisses sound.

Julia Ryckman

Ryckman says the band had a clear vision when they entered the studio in spring 2012 with producer/engineer Matt Peters (Royal Canoe) to record the follow-up to their 2011 debut, Surf Noir.

“We recorded Surf Noir two months after our first rehearsal as a band, so we had something happening, but it’s a much more raw and punkier version of This Hisses,” Ryckman explains. “It took a year to release Surf Noir, and in that year our sound became distilled, refined - it really became the This Hisses sound.”

By the time Surf Noir came out, the trio was already obsessing and planning for the follow-up.

“We went and really prepared, with really strong ideas about what we wanted to get,” Ryckman says.

Winnipeg label Transistor 66 released Anhedonia on Tuesday, Feb. 5, and the band will celebrate with a show at the West End Cultural Centre this coming Saturday, Feb. 9.

Ryckman says she’s looking forward to the album release show.

“There’s a special cover song we’re throwing in for kicks, and people can anticipate a great light show, which is something we’re experimenting with this time.”

If it’s half as awesome as Perron’s moustache, everyone’s in for a treat.

Published in Volume 67, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 7, 2013)

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