Matthew Hopkins and the Wormhole – Act Two is, in effect, the second album by the brilliant Skywatchers project, which saw folk singer Kevin Pearce work with Sheffield’s I Monster to exquisite effect. This time, Pearce let Dean Honer, half of the duo, loose creating a remix album based on his second full-length solo release Matthew Hopkins and the Wormhole – Act One.
The detuned synth sounds of A Bell Tyke Fruit open proceedings, and you should quickly have a fairly clear idea of what’s going to happen on this album. The vocals have been processed with some kind of vocoder effect, and everything else has been thoroughly messed around with. It’s pleasant, in a weird kind of way, but it’s also very experimental indeed – it’s hard to imagine anybody actually enjoying this kind of thing.
For the most part, the tracks which follow, with elaborate titles such as Ant Wee Hermaphrodites, make for a fun one-time listen but offer relatively little more. Long-time Finnish arthouse collaborator HK119 turns up to repeat the vocals in A Species Fluke, and really adds very little in the process. The throbbing industrial beats make for a fun diversion though.
None of this is to say there’s anything particularly wrong with this album, if you’re able to accept it for what it is. Valiant Nudie is intriguing, Hotdogs by Turrets an unexpected highpoint with its unusually clear vocal and rippling synth line, and Zen Grief a curiously mediaeval sidestep.
The honour of best track on this album goes to Weevil Ven Bone, the most melodic piece on here. The vocal, again so heavily processed that the lyrics are completely unrecognisable, still holds enough emotion to drive the song onward, and the rhythmic backing, which in other circumstances might almost be described as cheesy, complements it perfectly.
Other tracks are harder to latch on to. Clank Gain Woes is noisy and dramatic, as is Wah Brain, but neither really grabs you. Leprous Wenches Vale does, with its huge throbbing synth backing, but there still isn’t a lot in the way of lyrics here, if that’s what you’re looking for. Three Ohm Owl and Edits close the album out in equally odd form – a fun deviation, but not something you would want to listen to every day, by any means.
So Matthew Hopkins and the Wormhole – Act Two is an oddity, and definitely not a follow-up to the lovely The Skywatchers Handbook, but it does keep you entertained at least, which can sometimes be a lot to ask for.
You can find this release on Dean Honer‘s Bandcamp page for just a fiver.