So, you want your hundredth release to be special right? Especially, with a back catalogue of Static Shock’s quality. And what better way of celebrating the landmark than releasing the first release in four years from one of the very first bands you supported, Hygiene.
The band took their bow on Static Shock in 2009 with their debut EP, Town Centre (SSR005!), before following up with two full-lengths, Public Sector (2011), a lament for an unrealised social democratic utopia, and Private Sector (2019), which dealt with the bleak realities of our actually existing neoliberal society. A tweaked line-up sees a new bassist join the ranks, Lucy Anstey, but otherwise this three-track EP sees Hygiene continue to hone their very particular blend of aggressively brooding, yet surprisingly jaunty post-punk. Resonant bass lines, angular guitars, and infectious harmonised choruses are all deployed to impressive effect.
The lyrical focus of the title track is on the bizarre conspiracy theory that has gripped Britain’s alt-right in respect of the urban planning theory of the 15 Minute City, which aims to ensure that everyone lives within walking distance of key social infrastructure, but which has morphed into some bizarre Orwellian dystopia whereby people are allegedly to be restricted to specific zones. This absurd distortion is, of course, linked to the alt-right’s equally fervent obsession with cars as a supposed symbol of ‘freedom’, a notion that stands up to limited scrutiny when you consider their impact on our cities, and is squarely in Hygiene’s crosshairs on the flipside tracks, LTN and Petrol.