My wife and I were once labelmates with Hood. Not that the band knows it, though: “[This] seems to be the only release on mysterious US label Orange,” read the group’s notes on the Hood/Carmine split 7-inch, the second single compiled on the new Singles Compiled. Of course, right about the time Jenny and I were finishing up our own Orange release, Hood was probably recording something for one of the 20-odd other imprints represented on the two-CD Compiled and its companion disc, Compilations 1995-2002. Naturally, prolificacy is part of the point, but unlike most of its “lo-fi and proud,” record-’em-and-release-’em peers, the long-running West Yorkshire outfit hasn’t used its home-recording equipment to safeguard its moments of inspiration so much as to permanently scar them. “A Harbour of Thoughts,” the first track on the chronologically arranged Compiled, comes across like the Wedding Present after its worst-ever night in the studio—guitars, drums, and vocals alike are so overloaded and feedback-laden that they almost drown out the song’s perfectly poppy little melody. That’s another part of the point: The tune isn’t just in Hood’s collective head; it’s in the machinery of music-making, too. Elsewhere, the band is less sprightly and only marginally less noisy: “Dismissed Army Brought Us Knives” crackles with saturation at every drumbeat, Compilations centerpiece “Ley Lines” builds several not-quite-overlapping passages into a frightening piano-led crescendo, and “Sometimes Doomed” sets its one line of lyrics (“I’m never trusting anyone again”) against ghostly backup vox, a barely there acoustic guitar, and loads of mood-enhancing tape hiss. But Hood’s studio-as-instrument-of-destruction approach is probably best demonstrated on “(The) Weight,” a gleefully deconstructed number that also shows the group’s mid-’90s dalliance with dance music developing into a full-time commitment. “Sometimes your arms are like a weight around my neck,” sings vocalist Chris Adams, his words software’d into a robotic stutter that matches the track’s cut-up percussion keystroke by keystroke. As glitchy as Compiled and Compilations can get, though—especially on those songs recorded after the group’s 2000 acquisition of a 16-track—Hood has never strayed too far from the folklike melodies you’d expect from songs with titles such as “England’s Fine Fields,” “The Weather Side of Stone Mill Tower,” and “The Treacherous Mytholm Steeps.” In fact, if I had to nominate a Byrds for our age, this little band from Wetherby would be it: No one else working today has combined brand-new technology and age-old tunes in quite the same way. That makes me damn proud to share a discography with Adams & Co.—even if they’re the ones whose records matter, and I’m the one whose don’t. —Leonard Roberge

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