08 November 2010

Hammock - raising your voice... trying to stop an echo (2006, Darla)

When you listen to Hammock it becomes quickly certain that they owe some debt towards bands like Windy & Carl, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Album Leaf, Harold Budd or Auburn Lull, as they translate their music into something directly enjoyable and there lays probably their "emo" part, this ability to convey strong and warm, ecstatic and melancholic, blurry and dreamy emotions, in a way not really dissimilar with what Appleseed Cast did on their "Low level owl" double ep or the kind of blissful shoegazing Pia Fraus  offers.

Accessibility is the strength of Hammock as everybody can quickly relate to their music and get their main goal and ambition,  I've experienced it from someone totally estranged to the indie music world with the comparison to "a version of U2 which would never start their song and which would stay stucked forever into an neverending hypnotic limbo on the intros or endings of their songs.

This album is too long with so many tracks, 75 minutes and 18 songs, and the main evolution compared with "Kenotic" and "Stranded under endless sky" is a bigger place given to voices, and particularly to Christine Glass Byrd though it remains a minority.

"Shipwrecked (Flat On Your Back)" with her vocals is probably the standout track on this album, and at least the melody make it easy to identify and recognize.  The male vocals on the title track are much more generic and their lays a feeling of blandness which will be found again on the minor tracks of this record.

In their style of music, Hammock doesn't have real equivalent, just maybe disciples now with the first ep of Amman/Josh. They are ethereal but never try to achieve something transcendental, they reach beauty with colors and lights, they are the blooming season, late spring, early summer when everything is green, luxuriant and full of flowers.

Hammock is imaginary, they are developing an utopian world, idealistic but unrealistic too, so you're not asked to adhere, you're just supposed to have a good time listening to their music. All their music seems to be written, recorded and produced so naturally, layers of keyboards, effects, heavily processed guitars, producing a material which they transform into music following an almost constant state of mind.  And along the way, through the forest of this album, you got a few exceptional instants, like with "The house where we grew up", "Take A Drink From My Hands", "Disappear Like The Morning..." or "Will You Ever Love Yourself?".

Like their debut "Kenotic", this second album is good and interesting,  but you don't have to expect too much, they are talented artisans of a world they won't revolutionize and they have no active competitors in their particular subgenre.

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