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-Musically. Marc Byrd & Andrew Thompson's arrangements have been maturing considerably since their first album, 2005's Kenotic, and this time the pair are swinging for the fences. Consider how thickly the layers of synth, guitar washes, cinematic strings and even horns envelop melodies in tracks like "Ten Thousand Years Won't Save Your Life" and "Tonight We Burn Like Stars That Never Die" (heck, even the song titles are massive). Expect more drums and more gorgeous vocals too. Just turn up the volume and let this thing take you apart slowly.
-Thematically. Departure Songs deals primarily with capital "I" Issues of death, loss, and absence--and the beauty, joy, and victory of Living even amidst such realities. Indeed, what always strikes me as remarkable in Hammock's music is how even the most somber of subjects is tinged with an inevitable air of hopefulness. You will find that these 19 tracks evoke quite a range of emotions, and it's all the better; Hammock offering us "the whole catastrophe" time and again only makes our listening experience that much more meaningful.
-In terms of sheer volume of music. With a running time of nearly 1 hour and 50 minutes, there's a lot here to love and there's plenty of time to love it. If you're a longtime fan, think of everything you love about Hammock already and amplify it. You might just end up with Departure Songs. And if you're not a fan yet, let me just say this: ten thousand years might not save your life, but Hammock might just help you enjoy the ride.Read more ›
In all honesty, Hammock's last few albums have had a lull in intensity from their original work of Kenotic and Raising Your Voice Trying to Stop an Echo. That's not a bad thing at all - they are all extremely good in their own right. (As an example we used Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow as nighttime music to help our daughter drift off to sleep during her first 6 months.)
The intensity is back. The orchestral pieces add to the layers and the depth. Percussion is back, and placed perfectly. Marc's wife Christine's ethereal vocals are back as well. All of this combines into an absolutely epic audible journey from start to finish, replete with many highs and lows.
Ten Thousand Years Won't Save Your Life
(Tonight) We Burn Like Stars That Never Die
(Let's Kiss) While All The Stars Are Falling Down
I've never written an Amazon review before but just _had_ to write one for this album since it's so good.
I've been a dedicated fan of the band since discovering them about two years ago, and have come to know the entire body of work quite well. While everything prior to Departure Songs was great, it was also very much cut from the same cloth, such that I could not immediately identify most songs as coming from one album or another based on style alone. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it did suggest to me that Hammock had explored the limits of its creativity and future work could be expected to reside within those bounds.
I was wrong.
Departure Songs, while remaining unmistakably Hammock and post-rock, pushes through the band's past limits in ways that I was entirely unprepared for. It's not an evolutionary progression, it's revolutionary, and will likely come to represent a meridian, dividing Hammock's body of work into that which came 'before' and 'after'.
This double album is a true composition, comprised of 19 pieces which, when experienced in sequence, take one on a journey of actual emotion. It's genius in the macro, but zoom to each of the 19 songs and you find infinite reasons to hit the repeat button or, as I find myself doing constantly, rewind specific segments to experience them again and again. Today, for example, I cannot stop listening to the final 90 seconds of 'Hiding but Nobody Missed you'. In fact I've listened to it at least 20 times while writing this.
Part of what makes these songs so enchanting is their production, which forges a wall of sound that is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. Hammock's music before Departure Songs was very discrete in its presentation, meaning, here is the guitar, here are the keys, and here's the percussion, etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful, soothing, meditative, powerful...all at the same time.Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
IMO Their best album. (So far) Mixed by Tim Powles of the Church. Great album. One of my top 5 desert island albums for sure.Published 6 months ago by Scott E Rogers
Huge sound. Hammock is probably one of the best post rock/alternative groups out there. This album is virtually seamless, and each song is more impressive than the next. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jake Stockinger
This has become the soundtrack of my soul.
I have been on a very difficult journey for 3 plus years now that involves depression, bipolar, major deaths, and assorted... Read more