Pre-eminent H-Pop geniuses, Hype Williams, deliver the crackish satisfaction of 'One Nation', their third album proper and first for the hugely exciting Hippos in Tanks label - home to Laurel Halo, Games, SLEEP ∞ OVER, Grimes, D'eon, Autre Ne Veut and others. With the same fugged-up blend of sly insouciance and deceptively naive production that made 'Find Out What Happens...' so vital, Denna Francis and Roy D. Blunt have assembled a sublime followup which makes so much else out there seem over-earnest and over-dressed.
From the warped VHS signature of 'Ital' inwards, their surreal grasp of possessed, private synth music and deliberately economical production is delivered with innate confidence and the blackest humour. Whether it's the hilariously frank self-help samples and new age tones of the first 'Untitled' or the poor chap chatting about Peregrines who is so abruptly cut off in the second 'Untitled (And Your Batty's So Round)' to what sounds like a "chillout" version of track 3 from Pita's 'Get Out', the juxtapositions are knowingly acute and unforced. It's partly that aspect, the fluid transfer of concise but free wandering thought processes into sound, and their consolidation of free psyche methods with a bass-soaked UK flavour, that makes their music so interesting while keeping their semi-conscious illusion so intact and enigmatic.
Also, by eschewing glossy production they've cut straight to the essence, or the truth of the matter, and this is a mighty, mighty beautiful thing. Inside 'One Nation' you'll find some potential future favourites like the gobsmacking post-House condensation of 'Mitsubishi', the Juicy Fruit tang of 'William, Shotgun Sprayer', the brittle but gloopy slowfast vibe of 'Warlord' and the heart-melting R&B cover 'Your Girl Smells Chung When She Wears Dior', all heard through their inimitably cracked veneer.
What Hype Williams hold back is equal to what they put in and this sense of considered restraint makes for a listening experience pretty much unlike anything out there. And ultimately, beyond the haze of mystery, 'One Nation' is a moving, romantic, almost melancholy listening experience, and one we just cannot stop playing. Beyond essential.