Hood with I AM ROBOT AND PROUD at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Monday (March 11). $10. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
Many fans of Leeds space rock squad Hood will be stunned to hear the digital hum and beatbox clatter of the mysterious ensemble's latest disc, Cold House (Aesthetics).
The melancholic melodicism is still there, but the slow, curling waves of guitar spoo are now set to an unsettling machine clank more typical of Pluramon or Boards of Canada than anything Hood have done previously.
It would be called a shrewd career move had Hood suddenly decided to give up obscurity and angle for the cover of The Wire, but after talking to press-shy Hood frontman Richard Adams -- who doesn't even tell friends at work he's got a band -- it's clear that raising the group's profile was never in the game plan.
"The decision to use programmed beats was forced upon us, actually," explains Adams from his home in Leeds. "At the time we began working on songs for Cold House, we no longer had a drummer, so we built our own beats and the songs went that way."
Adams says he's been listening to a lot of electronic music over the past three years -- particularly things on the Warp label, like Autechre and the early Aphex Twin stuff -- and that's reflected in the band's change of direction.
"When you make music, you have to use everything at hand, without restrictions or following a formula. We need to stretch ourselves if we're going to do anything exciting."
They may have gone electronic, but don't count on Hood to trade their guitars for laptops any time soon.
"Personally, I can't see how anyone who goes to a club could derive enjoyment from watching someone tapping away at a computer. I mean, you might as well just go to a business office and watch people working."