Hour ~ Tiny Houses

Those looking for the next Do Make Say Think may find it in Hour, the Philly septet comprised of members from Friendship and naps.  Fittingly, one does think of tiny houses while listening to this warm, enveloping music, which despite its humble sound can often expand like the heat from a winter fireplace.  Lo and behold, in the video they are gathered in a band member’s attic!

While the house on the cover is not very small, it does possess a rustic, down home feel, which is echoed throughout the tape.  One might even think of the cassette case as a tiny house in which this music lives.  The band succeeds through restraint; despite their size, they make intimate music, calling on post-rock motifs yet never becoming post-rock.  The repeated melodic line of “315” seems poised to explode; instead, it offers quiet astonishment.  Other tracks find inspiration in the cinematic (“The passion of Joan of Arc”), country churches (“Doxology”) and the neighboring state of Ohio, which lends the album its only post-rock title:  “From a bus window in central Ohio, just before a thunder shower”.  The title might also fit an album of field recordings, a few of which are found here: morning birds, conversation and other vibrant reminders of life.

The violin and viola offer a kind welcome home following a long day of work.  They surround the listener with the feeling that everything is going to be okay.  The soft staccato of “Still new to this” is so gentle it wouldn’t scare a cat.  The band seems to play with its boots off, silencing its footsteps.  Even the percussion is polite, smiling instead of smashing.  “This is what I wanted” contains faint echoes of Christmas hymns sung around the hearth, likely an intentional reference in light of the doxology.

Looking at that cover image, one imagines the concert taking place within its boards in a room of ferment and filament, comfortable couches and cherished friends.  And afterwards, everyone walks home by the light of the moon.  At no point has the band attempted to overwhelm; and yet everyone will remember this experience for the rest of their lives.  (Richard Allen)

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