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The Hanging Stars are a delightful, London folk rock collective whose musical range also extends into country (think Gram Parsons) and West Coast psych. No doubt you will hear influences such as The Byrds too. You’ll definitely hear it on the stunning opening track, “On a Sweet Summer’s Day”, which marries starry-eyed guitar with sublime vocals and the deft texture of a pedal steel guitar. You can imagine yourself meandering down a gentle river on a warm day with barely there cloud flitting against a cerulean sky. “Too Many Wired Hours” is quite different, using a Kinksian music hall approach with a clarinet in the mix. Fun times! “How I Got This Way’ tickles the ivories and features vocal contributions from Miranda Lee Richards, and will enchant as it unfolds. It is all so smoothly done that these folks make it seem dead simple, which I am sure it isn’t. “Mean Old Man” puts a smile on my face, if only for the whistled, Ennio Morricone feel at its start. It morphs into the kind of soundscape that would be at home on a Grizzly Bear album. “Djupsjön” is a delicate instrumental, with motes of rippling piano and steel guitar. “Honey Water” is a sparkling interlude with heartfelt vocals and a quaint, retro feel to it. “Hold Out Your Hand” has a down home harmonica and nice harmonies in the mix, and the record moves quickly to its lovely conclusion, with the pretty acoustic strains of “Water Song”. It caps off a sweet and finely executed suite of tunes that will put a smile on your face and is recommended for all fans of jangly acoustic music with a side of country and folk thrown in.
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