Bands such as Deerhoof and Danielson ride a jagged edge, as their songs often fall apart and come back together just in time to avoid alienating the listener entirely. Difficult quirks are eventually overwhelmed by cohesion and melody, and the pattern keeps the music alive and listeners active.
On the concise Slight Fountain, Hermit Thrushes aspire to a similar mix of awkward and approachable. Joyful Noise Recordings notes the influence of “pre-American sounds (Greek folk, Byzantine chant, Andean music, Turkish folk)” on the band’s compositions, but those styles are not likely to come to most listeners’ minds.
More apparent are appeals to the senses and a tone that manages to uplift despite a somewhat macabre atmosphere. “Snowflake Heart” skips along in a singsong manner, but there is something deathly about the repeated “scent of almonds”. “Push” offers the vivid image of a “stomach bleeding through the dirt to fill up holes you never see”. Its chorus is uncomfortably similar to an Everclear hook, but otherwise the song is an effective exercise in contrasting compositional and lyrical elements.
Sometimes, as on “Black Cat”, the atonality gets out of hand and fails to reconcile with the more satisfying folk-rock arrangements. But “Song From Boat” and the Clouds Taste Metallic-esque “Gooseneck” successfully square the band’s various musical impulses. As angular, lo-fi modern rock goes, many bands have garnered more hype with work less gripping than Slight Fountain.
// Notes from the Road
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