Single Review: Hyaenas, “Another Level”

Hyaenas, “Another Level”

Back in early June, Vancouver, BC indie-rockers Hyaenas very quickly earned my attention with their absolute corker of a debut single, “Little Trophy.”  This was a tune that has remained in my frequent listening rotation almost five months after the release, and is a lock for the 2022 Memorable Singles list that I plan to compile for an upcoming year-end feature.  

Comprised of Sophie Heppell (guitars/vocals), Luvia Petersen (synths/vocals), Jesse Robertson (bass/vocals), and Jen Foster (drums/vocals), not only did this all new, all female, all queer quartet land on my radar at just the right time, they truly hit the bulls-eye with their guitars n synths variety of indie-rock music that was a welcome invasion into my own listening airspace.

For all of the budding physicists and meteorologists out there, should you have convictions that lightning never strikes in the same place twice, I’m here to disprove your argument – because Hyaenas certainly zapped me with their latest single, “Another Level,” a bolt of raw energy released just last Thursday that will electrify your senses.

Saw a ship on the horizon / Is it real or an illusion? / I’m running out of time I’m running out of my mind / You think you’re the answer I can’t find.” There is almost an industrial feel to the gradual opening instrumentation, that quickly morphs into a rollercoaster ride back to the late 1980s synth-pop era, and could easily be mistaken for a soundtrack from some Hollywood action flick from that timeline. “You take my time you take my money / Lure me in with your milk and honey / Careful, careful, another level / Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah.”


Inspiration for “Another Level” came courtesy of NXIVM, the personality and sexual slavery cult that lured unsuspecting people in under the guise of their personal and professional Executive Success seminars. “Life is a continuous cycle of setting goals, accomplishing them, and then immediately looking for the next step/milestone/achievement to reach and conquer,” the band share. “This can be a positive thing on the lifelong journey to self growth and improvement, but can become much more sinister when those in positions of power try to leverage your goals in order to control you.”

You take my time you take my money / Lure me in with your milk and honey / Careful, careful another level / Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah.”  The single was also partly inspired by the Kuebler-Ross “Five Stages of Grief,” a psychological concept where a survivor progresses through five emotional stages when confronted with loss.  With an emphasis here on the third stage of grief, Bargaining, I not only recall the powerful lyrics that rebelled against the sexual objectification of women in “Little Trophy,” but now connect the dots between this earlier track and the Kuebler-Ross model also.  “You take my money and you take my time / You hold the key to all my crimes / Careful there’s another level / Ah Ah Ah Ah.”

The intensity of the instrumentation and the vocal interplay between all four musicians progresses through the verses and choruses. Marvel at the outstanding harmonies as the quartet transport us to a pivotal bridge – itself a brief interlude where our conscience takes time to self reflect any literal constructs we may have that represent good and evil – before bursting back into life with the climatic final chorus. “You’ll hear all [our] individual voices overlapping and intersecting,” the band share in closing. “Representing the many voices of inner turmoil when you realize you got more than you bargained for in a deal with the Devil.”

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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