Year Future’s 2003 eponymous debut EP was difficult to explain without first digging through your early-’90s San Diego seven-inch collection. With their second EP, The Hidden Hand, the California group comprised of hardcore hall-of-famers cleans up some edges and delivers three songs that help cement their sound.
On opener “Nature Unveiled,” a bleak commentary on prescription drugs, Year Future introduces us again to their political, spacey, ’60s, dark, surf, Gang-of-Four-and-Dead-Kennedys-influenced rock ‘n’ roll. But Year Future’s sound, while conveying a sense of impending doom or anxiety, is oddly danceable. The Hidden Hand can scare you into an uneasy trance you won’t know how to handle.
“Police Yourself” pushes onward with the political discourse that fans of Sonny Kay’s previous acts might find startling. No longer writing jittery lyrics based on Star Trek episodes, Kay, previously of the VSS and Angel Hair, has taken to more focused commenting on issues ranging from the pre-occupations of middle Americans to Orwellian images of thought control. Year Future is bleak in every aspect, though, and these songs are not full of hope. They reflect the disturbing situations Kay paints for us and take stabs at your mental constitution.
The title track is most straightforward. Using the mind control Kay cites in the lyrics, repetitive bass and spacey guitars (that recall the Specials) drive home the final dismal line: “It never ceases happening, and nobody can challenge it.”