You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Noisy Neighbors

The New Highway Hymnal, ‘Whispers’



It’s never easy to directly translate the experience of a band’s live show to record, particularly one with such a viscerally pulverizing grind of noise as Haverhill’s psych-punk act the New Highway Hymnal.

Continue reading below

But there is a moment toward the end of the 8-minute album closer, “Hey Kid (Gotta Run),” from the young band’s debut full-length, where the loose structure of the song begins spinning out of its barely anchored foundation and off into alternating moments of quiet and harrowing catharsis, with vocalist Hadden Stemp shredding his vocal cords in shrieks of fury, that’s enough to transport you to the dingy confines of a sweating rock club on the precipice of perdition.

It’s a common feeling evoked by the nine tracks here, each more agitated and nervy than the next. Passages of reserved bass groove and mantra-like vocals of a desolate fever dream dissolve into musical horror: sandstorms of feedback, and noise like a plague of locusts. It’s a waking nightmare, but one you want to get on the guest list for. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “Hey Kid (Gotta Run)”

The New Highway Hymnal performs as the Stooges at the Pill’s annual Halloween Show, Oct. 31, at Great Scott.

Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of