Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hemmingbirds - The Vines Of Age (album release show Fri Sept 21 at Beat Kitchen)

The Hemmingbirds set the bar pretty high with their debut, Death Wave , which was on my most listened to year end list, played on pod-casts near and wide as well as downloaded in excess of 50,000 times on Frost Click and saw the band entrench themselves in the Chicago music live scene. Death Wave was a one man tour de force of Yoo Soo Kim playing all, singing and fine production. So it has been interesting to see him add Zach Benkowski on drums, Matt McGuire on bass, and Timothy Cap on guitar (who Yoo Soo knew from their days at University Of Illinois at Champaign together). The guys have graciously had me out at about 8 to 10 of their shows, so I have been able to see this line up solidly and become stronger and stronger as they played songs from Vines Of Age these last few months, in advance of it's release this Fri Sept 21 at Beat Kitchen. PRE- ORDER Vines Of Age.

The sound of The Vines Of Age evolves from  hard rock and classic rock influences, and has become study in sound expansion. There is an emphasis on a bigger more expansive sound that is as loud at time as it's predecessor Death Wave, but achieves the big sounds with an indie flavor as on the build up for album opener "My Love, Our Time Is Now".

 "Line of Bones" starts with some clapping and quickly descends into a post punk inspired stomper of a song that achieves a glorious big noise where all of the band members contribute. I love seeing them play this song line because of the tempo shifts.

My favorite track, "Vineyards" illustrates the concept of this album, the passage of time and it's effect on us.  Yoo Soo sings 'The vines of age, will crowd your brain and bind you to your name.' There are nice guitar echo effects on this song hat make it sound very layered. Yet at the same time there are pauses and stops that really ties everything together.  This to me is the quintessential Hemmingbirds songs, featuring sweet vocals, harmonies, and a killer melody back by sounds both big and small. Love that long slow fade at the end.

'The lives that pass through your eyes on the t.v., and how it prints on to your brain, as your dreaming, and as I age you see the resemblance, and you carefully say take your time with the lovers that you make, take your time with the lovers that you make, Yoo Soo sings sweetly on "Oak Tree", a ballad with some beautiful guitar work to match Yoo Soo's insightful writing.   This is another tome about time and taking advantage of the time you have and people close to you.

"Toxic Noise" is a mid tempo rocker awash in big ass guitars featuring a killer bottom end that really propels this song. Add to that some sweet keys by Mike Maimone (Mutts).

Ever wonder what you would get if you mike Mike Maimone's sound with Hemmingbirds right down the middle? The answer can be found on "Better Than That" which features Mike on keys. They backbone of the song is a blues stomp that features some very experimental sounds for Hemmingbirds with even a bit of psych rock feel. Mike was the one who originally told me about Hemmingbirds and I have see Mike and You Soo and assorted band members trade playing with one another. They are all comfortable playing with one another and the this song is evidence that those two sounds work wonderfully together.

Holy stereo effect Batman. "Evening Is Rising" is an experimental noise lounge song featuring trumpet by Tricia Scully and trombone by Thom Schwartz. When the noise kicks up to full it's almost impossible to make out what is making some of those sounds. I think every band should have a song like this, that almost gets away from the band. I like the experimental side of Hemmingbirds.

I love the drums on "Through The Aether". Also Yoo Soo's violin and viola parts are really nice. Yet again another big, joyous noise.

This time around there are more nuanced sounds that comes from having a full band who all contribute to the overall sound.  There are the dalliances with experimental and psyche rock and sometimes straight up noise that add quite another element to the bands core of hook laden pop songs. I thoroughly enjoyed the sonic ride of listening to this album as a whole. It has been a joy to have heard some of the rough cuts of these songs early on, and then to see these songs transformed when they played them live. Now with this production of the songs the Hemmingbirds have advanced the songs even further. A big congratulations to the guys on an incredible album.

For press for Hemmingbirds contact August at Novo.


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