Boston-based indie rockers Hush Club offer riveting, warm live takes on already-superb studio tracks

The music of Boston-based DIY indie rock act Hush Club is largely aimed to revolve around, and create, experiences.

“For us, the most important thing is to make emotionally resonant music,” member Alasdair MacKenzie said in an interview. The group, composed of MacKenzie (bass, vocals; he/him/his), Chris Haley (guitar, vocals; he/him/his), Liz Kantor (keys, vocals; she/her/hers), and Ben Curell (drums; he/him/his), places lots of importance on feeling—from songwriting to recording to performing.

And so in pursuit of that, Hush Club is releasing a three-track live EP next week: Live in Cambridge, which was recorded at Cambridge’s own Club Bohemia. The decision to do this, for them, stems partially from a wish to highlight their growth in the past few years. Three of their songs—“Roll It Later”, “What You Need”, and “Bad Timing”—were all recorded several years ago but released on their 2019 self-titled LP earlier this year. Their new EP, however, consists of three recent live recordings and videos of the tracks showing the new ways they’ve learned to play and explore songs.

“We chose these three particular recordings because of how different they are from the versions of the songs that were already on Spotify,” the band said.

Hush Club brings to the EP a warmth and energy that transcends just normal live performance excitement and, instead, speaks more to the band’s stylistic flexibility and sheer talented inventiveness. The minute, sometimes barely-noticeable changes and errors that sneak into the recording—from a chord being strummed two different ways to even just the way sound resonates throughout the venue—gives Live in Cambridge a very endearing sort of hyperrealism, noticeably distinct from the band’s LP both in sound and listening experience.

The EP’s opening track—and LP’s fourth—“Roll It Later”, shines in its live untamed energy. The song differs noticeably from its studio counterpart in its unmastered, almost unkempt explosiveness, especially at its fastest and loudest, and resonates considerably more low-register. Audio fidelity also plays to Hush Club’s advantage here, maintaining an almost mesmerizing feeling of immersion distinct from the album’s version. Check out the track’s video below:

And “What You Need” continues this beautiful rawness, clashing that high-fidelity with the idiosyncrasies and variations of the band’s live performance, producing a sort of enticing, attention-grabbing realism. Hush Club’s live version proves swingy and energetic, and sports a much more passionate, moving vocal performance, soaring to cathartic highs quickly cushioned by equally electric, persistent drum rhythms and roaring, distorted guitar accompaniment. The song’s crushing lyrics add to this as well: “Everyone’s gone to brighter places / Better get past the old embraces / You’ve got no thrill for me / You’ve got much more to see.”

“Bad Timing”, the EP’s final track, ended up being much spacier and quieter than the LP’s version, but in that regard, comes out much more contemplative—cathartic, even—especially in its eventual thematic build-up.

Hush Club’s Live in Cambridge EP is a different listening journey altogether from their self-titled LP, casting the band’s sonic profile and development in a new, retrospective light.

Hush Club will be returning to Club Bohemia, the birthplace of their EP, with Curtis Cooper opening on Saturday, November 9.

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