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Kemptation.com: EP REVIEW: Dot Hacker

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Out now on ORG Music

Josh Klinghoffer can be found currently as replacement for John Frusciante with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Klinghoffer’s closeness to the band played a big part in the decision to promote him to fulltime member (he played live with them during the Stadium Arcadium tour, providing second guitar to Frusciante).

Klinghoffer’s song writing with Dot Hacker clearly shows that he is not merely being asked to learn the songs and play along like a performing monkey. His artistic talents shine through and, even though the Chili Peppers retain their distinctive sound, this EP is a testament to Klinghoffer’s own ability as a standalone musician.

The EP is only four songs long (with a full length album due for release in May, according to the label’s website), but that is plenty to give fans a taste of what to expect – though conversely, it might leave those of us who are undecided with insufficient information to go on, to which it is then a matter of musical faith as to whether we go and purchase the full length upon its release.

Klinghoffer provides guitar and lead vocals, standing alongside a veritable super group of musicians who have played with the likes of Gnarls Barkley, PJ Harvey and Omar Rodriguez Lopez (of Mars Volta fame).

Dot Hacker’s music has a slight sway to it, Klinghoffer’s voice going from the high-pitched Frusciante whine to the piercing Pixies style squeal. It is slow in places and, though intricate, lacks the speed to make this truly impressive. It is heavily electronic in tone with a dirty sound that almost makes you feel like you’re listening to it through the wall to another room.

Order Disorder is probably the best track on the album, but mostly because it has the most recognisable musical taste to it. The crunching guitar intro, tight drums and fuzzy bass line compliment Klinghoffer’s voice perfectly. The discordant guitar licks throughout are enough to provide a touch of uniqueness, but without being too obtuse and inaccessible. It weakens around the breakdown, with reversed vocals, but when the beat comes back there is absolutely no avoiding it. It hits you hard and keeps you going until the end of the song.

Only time will tell whether the full-length album will do enough to hold people’s attention and give Klinghoffer the recognition he deserves as a songwriter. There can be no doubt that Dot Hacker is full of talented musicians, but this reviewer can’t help but feel that, with this EP, they could all have been put to better use.

Mike Brown

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