From the flatlands of Lincolnshire, England, Hoax Funeral’s pleasing debut blends UK folk and US alt-country with a languid pop sensibility. Necessity may be the mother of invention but for whatever reason the group favor clarity and precision. That’s a blessing, as their sixteen original songs can stand to be heard without the gimmicky disguise of over-elaborate or muddied production. “A Prophesy Fulfilled” is one of several lonely, dark and gentle pieces that leave a deep impression. One or two songs, such as “Amsterdam”, put me in mind of the Be Good Tanyas but that is no bad thing. “All I Ever Thought About Was You” and “Things You Can’t Believe” also standout, as does “Sleeping With Your Ghost”.
The group take their name from the Shearwater half of Sham Wedding/ Hoax Funeral , the 2004 split CD with Okkervil River. At this point I’d take Hoax Funeral over both of those bands. They can really play but keep it simple, like the fine teams coached by the great Brian Clough from just up the road in Derby and Nottingham. Consequently, the understated instrumentation adds rich and varied texture while leaving space for the voice of main songwriter Anjy Hall. Some have likened her voice to that of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, paler perhaps, but just as endearing. Pour Away the Ocean is released on their own label with no PR, agent or management, though it’s hard to imagine the group getting out of somewhere like SXSW without offers of a new deal, if that matters.
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// Notes from the Road
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