Hail — Hello Debris
(ReR Megacorp H3, 2006, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01
The ongoing collaboration between avant garde multi-instrumentalist Bob Drake and vocalist Susanne Lewis continues to confuse and confound. Drake and Lewis this time pull in more indie rock elements, and find themselves atop of a large pile melodies and software-driven but actualized ideas. Keeping it short, sweet, and direct is Lewis’s mode of composition as heard across the disc. “Celestial Heartbeat” delivers a lush bed of harpsichord keys that works especially well with her crazy programmed organ lines that communicate a childlike fascination. Her vocal and harmony delivery is more mature and confident which is especially evident on pieces such as “Debris,” which is reminiscent of Mazzy Star but less whiny. The back side of the disc comprises nine songs, beginning with the frantic tempos of “The Bridge Song,” which is comparable to the work of Portland’s Caveman Shoestore. “The Poets” is one of the best realized pieces on the disc with a mysterious lyric and well fitting baroque programmed keyboard. “The Memory of an All Girl Band 1925” is a vignette based on the daunting image of a Paul Klee painting and features some of Drake’s best drumming. In contrast, “Honeybees” is the true oasis of a piece with its uplifting glockenspiel and rattling percussion track. Overall this is the best sounding recording out of any of the Hail recordings Bob has engineered. Fans of the Polyphonic Spree and your everyday Indie Rock should fully embrace the duo’s minimalist fits of fancy.
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