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Hammock - Departure Songs CD (album) cover



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3 stars Hammock's latest release is a massive double cd full of layered guitar harmonies, sweet&slow arpeggios and calm drumbeats. Almost two hours in length, it is hard to say anything fully comprehensive about Departure Songs. I still have very mixed feelings on the album, even after giving it time to grow and listening it through many times in multiple ways. It seems to be loosely themed (how much can you build a semantic theme in a mostly instrumental album, anyway?) around the last moments of life and the various ways in which death can take place. Some moments are breathtaking, like the awesome buildup in Ten Thousand Years Won't Save Your Life and the beautifully moving Frailty (For the Dearly Departed). Other times, especially on the second disc, I just completely lose attention as there's not much new or even interesting going on. Don't get me wrong, this is a fine effort, I just find it too long for it's genre and too bland in terms of variance for my taste. While not really groundbreaking structurally or melodically, Hammock succeeds in creating many very interesting soundscapes that leave the listener in a sense of wonder, a thing often found through their music. Check it out and decide for yourself, that's my advice.
Report this review (#906127)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hammock's "Departure Songs" is an album I find difficult to rate. On the one hand it accomplishes everything it sets out to do, creating a lush, dreamlike sonic landscape with moments of pure ecstacy. On the other, it's not terribly memorable or groundbreaking. I'd be hard pressed to differentiate this music from any number of other similar acts going around.

This almost two hour double album starts with easily the best track. "Cold Front" is a spine tingling gem, incorporating gorgeous pads and an incredible yet simple and haunting guitar melody. This is definitely a song I keep coming back to. As an aside, the film clip is also intriguing and brilliantly presented.

From here, Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson don't change the formula a great deal. There's some sparse vocals on various tracks and there are a few tempo changes here and there, but for the most part we get what we expect on a Hammock release.

And that's also why I find it hard to criticise the album. As I said, it achieves what it sets out to do. This is the perfect kind of album for playing in the background while doing something else. It's not intrusive and it creates a great mood. But I don't feel it does anything to set itself apart from numerous other albums out there designed to do the same thing.

However, if you're after beautiful, atmospheric post-rock to lull your senses, you can't really go wrong here.

Report this review (#965621)
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 | Review Permalink

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