SPLLIT – Infinite Hatch
11.01.23 by Zach Mitchell
Rules are meant to be broken. The idea of setting creative rules for yourself – in SPLLIT’s case, recording two distinct sides of a record from two songwriters in a day’s time – can be tantilizing as an artist. It creates a process, a goal, a narrative, and an eventual ideal to be trampled on for your followup. This is the situation SPLLIT find themselves in for Infinite Hatch, their second full length release and first true cohesive album length statement. The Baton Rouge post-punk duo’s (known professionally as MARANCE and URQ) first record, Spllit Sides, featured seven new songs and several more from an older cassette-only release. Infinite Hatch finds the team starting from the ground up for a batch of twelve stretchy, bouncy jams.
The core of SPLLIT’s sound has always been a merging of Palm-style mathy post-punk with DIY egg-punk sensibilities. Egg-punk (a term I hate, but one that sadly has meaning) is a tough genre to break into these days because, like with most punk subgenres, the lack of innovation in the genre means bands just iterate on each other endlessly. There’s two approaches you can take to skirt around this: you can either spend the money to record your quirky bursts in a real studio (à la Snooper, which turned out great for them) or you can inject real ideas into your music. SPLLIT chooses the latter.
SPLLIT’s biggest strength lies in mashing together seemingly disparate pieces, like on “Cloaking” where the band smash cuts loping verses into a hardcore-flavored outro. Infinite Hatch as a whole feels like that over its runtime, but when you dig into the individual pieces (like the skittering drum machine bits in “Dorks Tried” or “Bevy Slew”’s tempo fluctuations around one central theme) you notice something: there is one singular sonic world that this whole album takes place in. SPLLIT has created their own unique sonic palette right outside the edge of easy comparison. Everything comes in twos – vocals, drums, guitars. Layers upon layers of sound add up to some truly caterwauling, freeform punk. Rarely does this kind of trek into odd time signatures and herky-jerky rhythms sound this fun, which is the other big component of the SPLLIT sound world. Tracks like “Gemini Moods (Return)” sound joyful without being cloying. It’s easy to imagine the studio mania that accompanied the splatty keyboards and meter changes and even easier to feel invited to dance along with the band.
Infinite Hatch is a tough album to crack, but the invitation into its world is a tempting one. Every time I return to it, I turn over a new stone and find a new bleep, bloop, or percussion whack to appreciate. I’m drawn to albums like this – homespun patchworks of found sounds and dreamed up soundscapes from creative minds too weird to be pinned down. SPLLIT leveled up big time on Infinite Hatch. It’s a dispatch from two songwriters bursting at the seam with ideas. There’s a large part of me that hopes that other punk bands take a page out of their book – stretch out, loosen up, and don’t be afraid to sound demented while you’re doing it.