Monday, February 12, 2007

Hush Arbors

Hush Arbors' entry in Three Lobed Recordings' Modern Containment series of CDs does have an arresting cover at the least, with an axe-wielding maniac preparing to thwack a winsome folksinger over the head -- a sentiment that is probably more common than anyone realizes, though hopefully not carried out fully, if only for the sake of keeping the coroners from working too hard. Murder and mayhem aside, Landscape of Bone lives up to its title in that all five songs on the disc have the word "bone" somewhere in the title, making this a bit of a party for the Grim Reaper as interpreted through Hush Arbors' mainman Keith Wood's work. Fading in slowly on a loping, gentle jam, keening vocals to the fore as spindly guitar feedback and percussion rumbles fill out the mix, "Bones of a Thousand Suns" starts Landscape on a pleasantly mysterious note, and from there Wood and company create a series of gently bewitching numbers that are all quite lovely, making this as good an introduction to the band as any. "Broken Bones" is somewhere between the Rolling Stones as a country act and Spiritualized as the same without specifically sounding like either, Wood's voice high, lonesome, and wounded, while "Oar of Bone" has a simple but stunning arrangement of vocals with acoustic and electric guitar that's absolutely captivating from the get-go, perhaps the best of its kind since the heyday of Flying Saucer Attack. In comparison to the previous three songs, "Bones by the Sea" is more pleasant than strikingly notable, but it's not bad. Still, it would have been a poor note to end the disc on, so the ten-minute "Nine Bones" steps to the fore, with guests like James Toth (aka Wooden Wand) joining in on another great jam to bookend the disc, including a massive, heavy, and slow feedback break and rampaging full-band conclusion that would make Ash Ra Tempel proud.

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