Hikes is a band from Austin TX that blends math-rock, prog, folk and jazz into a truly unique and bracing sound. Their songs are inspired by the outdoors, and each one is a soundscape on which they reflect their surroundings through pitter-patters of cascading guitar figures, rain-drop pick strokes, riverbed bass lines and the rushing rapids of drums.
Their songs are full of shifts in dynamic, from bombastic bursts of energy, to calming meditations and back, best exemplified by ‘Spring Forward’ and ‘Tinker Creek’ from their 2014 self-titled LP. On ‘Quilt’ from the same record, time-signatures and tempo change effortlessly as the song goes on, and the clean guitars morph into squalls of distortion and feedback as a chorus of “whoa-oh-oh’s” carry the song into a new dimension of bliss.
Their folk tendencies pop up in songs like ‘Shepherd’s Clock’ and ‘The River Song’ from 2013’s Friends, and as the years have gone on they’ve only improved at combining the different characteristics and aspects of their music into a greater, coalescing whole, like on ‘Onset’ from their most recent release, 2017’s Lilt EP, which also sees them cutting back on the 7-8 minute songs and streamlining their take on progressive math-rock and honing their sound into a razor-sharp point.
So if you like open-ended, technical, melodic, dynamic and most importantly, incredibly gorgeous music, give Hikes a listen. They’re not the first to take this approach to math-rock, but no one does it better than them, so for both fans of math-rock and potential converts to the genre, Hikes is the band for you.
Words: Ethan Schrupp | @ethanschrupp