Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hem - Rabbit Songs

This isn't a new album. It isn't even the first time I've listened to the band. But I hadn't paid too close attention to them until I realized that this ad uses Hem's song "Half Acre." I thought the ad was rather touching, and it stands out from the crowd in that it doesn't appeal to prurient interests to sell you something. For that reason, I don't know if it will be effective, but that isn't really the point here.

The point is, I bought the album this song comes from today because of this reminder. And I've had it on repeat ever since. From the opening bars of the lullaby "Lord, Blow the Moon Out Please" through the beautiful "Half Acre" to the closing notes of "Horsey," I was entranced. Very few albums will hold my attention so well that I'm unable to do anything but listen as they play the first time. This is one of them. I don't pretend to understand all of the songs, but it's hard not to connect with lines like "Think of every town you've lived in/Every room you lay your head/And what is it that you remember?" when you're sitting in a hotel room far from home. And if you're given to pensive reflection, as most of the posts here demonstrate I am, it's hard not to agree with lines like "So we carry every sadness with us/Every hour our hearts were broken." And for those interested in the meanings of the songs, this website is a bunch of quotes from the band explaining them.

But the words are far from the only high point of this album. The music is well crafted, and well executed. Between the filigreed mandolin, piano and clarinet of "Half Acre" and the bluegrass-ish "Cuckoo" is wide variety of styles, bound together by the ethereal voice of Sally Ellyson.

The band tried with this album to write something quintessentially American. They've succeeded admirably. Highly recommended.


medstudentitis said...

That ad was great, and the song was great. I'm going to have to pick up this album. I really like her voice, it's simple.

Nathan said...

Glad you liked it. And I very much agree with your assessment. It's more concise and meaningful than my ramblings, certainly :)