Working tirelessly at their craft since 2001, Hair Police are rare survivors of the rapidly dissolving US noise scene. Made up of Mike Connelly (aka Failing Lights), Robert Beatty (aka Three Legged Race) and Trevor Tremaine – the three Midwesterners have amassed quite a catalog between them, but somehow always hit hardest when they fuse their talents and work together. ‘Mercurial Rites’ is the trio’s first proper full-length since 2008’s ‘Certainty of Swarms’, and in typically obstinate form doesn’t even slightly pander to the noise scene’s mass exodus towards the dancefloor. Instead the record is as dirt-sodden and gruesome as the band have ever sounded, and marks an evolution in industrial noise without straying far from their original intentions. They’ve always been a consistent band, but ‘Mercurial Rites’ does a pronounced job in distilling the raw energy of their defining early LP ‘Obedience Cuts’ and fusing it with the disturbing soundscapes of later records ‘Drawn Dread’ and ‘Prescribed Burning’. Tape-saturated bells and gongs push up awkwardly against pounding, funereal percussion and the kind of disembodied screams we last heard on 80s-era Whitehouse sides, and while the result might terrify some, it re-affirms what made noise so alluring in the first place. This is unsettling, punishing sound that revels in its own abstraction, yet every clank is so meticulously placed, every screech of feedback so pointed that at times you forget the layers of distortion and fog altogether. We’re simply left with sparse vignettes of darkness, and in the empty silence in-between the blasts of synthesizer or white noise there’s more horror than you could possibly imagine.