Posted on December 13th, 2012 (2:00 pm) by H. William Davis

Spanning two discs and nearly two hours, Hammock's fifth release, Departure Songs, collects some of the most inspired work the Nashville duo have accomplished. Dark and looming but sprinkled with anthemic beauty, Departure Songs is an album delivering the band to the point where they can step into themselves, producing music appropriate in its goals and ideals while still holding out some glittering mementos of individualism. This is quite a feat for Hammock, as their genre permits few stand-outs in a world where post-rock, to most listeners, sounds the same.

True, there are noticeable elements of Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai, but Hammock make no effort at hiding these influences. They are noted Sigur Ros admirers; their live debut happened to be a celebration of Jónsi's, first venture in the U.S. However, Hammock have the distinction of being one of the few bands who could be called the second generation of Post-Rock. As such, they have the ability to pick and chose their influences, creating a similar sound, but nuanced in its own way. "(Tonight) We Burn Like Stars That Never Die," for instance, recalls delicate Explosions in the Sky arrangements backed by Sigur Ros style vocals. While these two bands immediately come to mind within the first few bars, the sound is remarkably its own.

This uniqueness is achieved by emotional legitimacy and well-armed musicianship. There is genuine craft behind Departure Songs, and this makes all the difference. When a musician is competently able to say something is their own, then it is. It becomes a part of them. At large, the sound of Departure Songs is one of adjustment, wriggling into its own space. This motif is recognizable to any listener of ambient music, for the trend in the genre in recent years has been marked by a multitude of strikingly similar bands all making a name for themselves with one or two extravagances. With Hammock, the catch is a bit more subtle. The guitar on Departure Songs twinges with just a slight southern twang and echoes more radiantly than others, as if caught between looming peaks of the Appalachians. We haven't yet had a true southern Post-Rock band, and hailing from the heart of country music, it would be difficult to call Hammock any more southern.

In no way though does Hammock resemble the traditional music of their region. Departure Songs captures the romanticism and loneliness of the south all while serving as an ode to all the other musicians down there who are actively trying to resist stereotypes associated with "southern" music. Departure Songs does, however, give the aging genre something to reconcile with its redundancies. Departure Songs is exceptionally crafted Post-Rock aided by a southern DIY workmanship, a hardworking ethos, and a genuinely soulful pathos. It communicates what you're listening to, in effect, is someone's lifeblood. It's this effect making music, any music of any genre, special in the first place. Beyond revitalizing a genre, Hammock have captured the inexpressible, the glimmer of hope that rises from the endless fields of stars drifting wearily through the Tennessee sky.

Track List:
1. Cold Front
2. Ten Thousand Years Won't Save Your Life
3. Together Alone
4. Artificial Paradises
5. (Tonight) We Burn Like Stars That Never Die
6. Pathos
7. Awakened, He Heard Only Silence
8. Words You Said... I'll Never Forget You Now
9. Tape Recorder
10. Frailty (For the Dearly Departed)
11. Dark Circles
12. (Let's Kiss) While All the Stars Are Falling Down
13. All Is Dream and Everything Is Real
14. Mute Angels
15. Hiding But Nobody Missed You
16. We Could Die Chasing This Feeling
17. Glossolalia
18. (Leaving) The House Where We Grew Up
19. Tornado Warning

Hammock: Departure Songs
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

76 / 100
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