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It’s late 2016 on a nearly winter’s day and I once again get to experience the wonder that is Hammock, my favorite group of stargazers. This special 10th anniversary edition was remastered by James Plotkin separately for vinyl, CD, and digital formats. It includes 8 bonus tracks that were taken from the original 2006 “Raising..” recording sessions. This is also the first ever vinyl edition for this recording.
Hammock sounds utterly unique, their shimmer and shine is all their own. All their releases are gems that stand on their own, each the next chapter in a series of dreamscapes. Raising Your Voice…Trying to Stop an Echo is no exception. It contains all the same magical elements as other Hammock recordings, ones that makes this band so completely special. I tell people about them whenever I can, but it seems sometimes like nobody’s listening. Everyone is too wrapped up in their own manufactured music states, content and complacent to listen to the same playlists over and over. Instead, one could hop the fence and dive into the swooningly beautiful meadow of Hammock’s music. Straight from the top, “I Can Almost See You” is stunning and glorious, like the first rays of morning sun peeking over the horizon. As is the title track, second up in the song sequence. It contains a slightly familiar theme, perhaps an echo from another release. It also has a rare vocal, and one that perfectly complements the uplifting music. “When the Sky Pours Down Like a Fountain” is peaceful, a winter’s musical stream trickling through your head like a silvery cloud. Its innate trippiness approaches the realm of psychedelia, and some of the guitars echo like whale song. “The House Where We Grew Up” is another musical footnote, a postcard in a book of memories. It arouses sentiment and the warmth of knowing you are loved.
“God Send Us a Signal” might represent the pleas of believers needing a miracle, or it can just be the simple but beautiful song that it is and end at that. “Clouds Cover the Star” is too short, but it’s enough of a bliss fix to get your day kickstarted. “Floating Away In Every Direction” is akin to the infinite arms of a spiral galaxy, stretching to the vast expanse of space. It pushes you out into the ether, and you never come down from it. “Take a Drink from My Hands” is a cold cup of water on a blistering hot day, a balm to the senses and one that is ripe for meditative use. “Startle the Heavens” is yet another slice of contemplative bliss, with wonderful keyboards added to the already complex tapestry of sound. “Disappear Like the Morning” almost makes you feel the passing of time, clouds whipping briskly across the sky, sun following its trajectory as it does every day, even when it’s obscured by clouds. I like the spacey elements here, the deep tones reminding me of a bank of fog hovering on the treeline. “Shipwrecked (Flat On Your Back)” almost makes me hear seabirds in the background, right before the vocals start up. It is all very hushed and proper, and majestic to boot. “Passing Away” is solemn and elegiac, and it never breaks through its silken bonds of misery. “Will You Ever Love Yourself” is a bit more hopeful, with spacey musical motes trickling through. “Sparkle and Fade” is the end to the originally is sued album, and it’s roughly a minute of swooping sonics and organ. “Sora” is airy and pleasant, while “Weightless” is buoyed by acoustic guitar and good music for staring at the flatness of almost dusk. The sun has gone behind clouds and day is turning into night as I approach the end of my review. “Alys” is a bit different, reminding me of synth pop with dream pop aspirations. It moves into a sprightly melody and never disappoints. “Shift” delves even further into electronica and psych, especially with the tripped out instrumentation. “Harmonica” starts off so quiet that it’s startling when it blooms suddenly into loud swells of sound, with what sounds like the gorgeous low tones of a cello anchoring it. “RMFS” has electronic beats and a dream-filled overlay before launching into full blown shoegaze. Wow! For such a quiet band, this is almost startling if you don’t know their other music. To close, this is another excellent addition to the Hammock catalogue, and not only for completists. Highly recommended!
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