Hermit Thrushes – Slight Fountain

Hermit Thrushes - Slight Fountain

Hermit Thrushes - Slight Fountain

Hermit Thrushes sounds like a blender. A blender of modern indie, a little folk influence, and jazz inspired pitch shifts and clumsy arrangements. If this doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t know what does. At first it does feel disjointed, but what feels off about Hermit Thrushes’ latest release Slight Fountian, is ultimately what makes this an engaging listen.

A simple and delicate acoustic melody opens the album in “An Oil Fruit” and the gear shifts into “Snowflake Heart”. At first it sounds like these guys just picked up their instruments, found a few notes that they liked and strung them together, and not in unison or any type of structure. Then a lull hits, and they’re repeating the phrase “The scent of almonds” over and over. What makes it all the more engaging, is the instruments that come into play over all of the madness. Bells and trumpets play to their own tune and somehow, it works. The song ends as abruptly as it began, but leads into the soothing “Ceci”. Soothing, until the kazoo comes in and ruins the lull, but doesn’t necessarily ruin the song. It continues on in a brisk pace and familiar structure, but those little touches of off beat melodies are always welcome.

“Push”, again, begins like a garage band just jamming to their own notes, but it all comes together beautifully in the end. Here the notes almost don’t matter; the philosophy seems to be that the melody isn’t driven by the notes, but the notes are driven by the melody. For the most part, the rest of the album turns into short bursts of experimenting on the same principles laid by the first few songs.

“Golden Wounds” moves at a brisk, indie rock pace until it grinds to a quick halt for two brightly placed notes. “Older Trees” begins in an epic fashion and features one of the biggest choruses on the album. Here, this feel is emphasized, amazingly in a song thats under 2 minutes. One can argue that songs like “Song From Boat” and the closer “A Good Dream” are the most complete songs on the record (likely because they are the longest), but that is an unfair notion.

I really appreciate what Hermit Thrushes is doing. One does wonder what could have been if they stretched the length of some of these songs, but what they have here are short bursts of interesting ideas with a handful of solid modern indie, low-fi tunes. Slight Fountain is a refreshingly disjointed affair.