ALBUM REVIEW: Normil Hawaiians – Empires into Sand | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Upset The Rhythm

Released: 03.05.24







Normil Hawaiians formed in South East London in the late 1970s and sunk into semi-oblivion for decades before Upset The Rhythm excavated their recordings in the 2010s. Empires Into Sand is the collective’s first new album in four decades. Guy Smith is the band’s only permanent member.

The new tracks – recorded in the Scottish village of Tayinloan – resemble the older ones because nothing has changed. The collective continues to write about capitalism, the class divide, human loneliness and revolt in their own personal way. They have retained their sharp, cold sound – motorik beats, samples, spoken word, bouts of mournful, wordless chanting. The only difference perhaps is Smith’s deep voice, more lugubriously present than ever. Somewhere a clock is ticking. Normil Hawaiians are doomed yet mysteriously, tenaciously alive – here for now.


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