A Hawk and a Hacksaw

Jeremy Barnes / A Hawk and a Hacksaw

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A Hawk and a Hacksaw Review

by Jesse Jarnow

The first solo project from Neutral Milk Hotel and Bablicon member Jeremy Barnes, A Hawk and a Hacksaw is an atmospheric disc of mostly instrumental, folky piano compositions supplemented with bells, voices, accordion, trumpet, and other accoutrements from the usual Elephant 6 gang of contributors, including Barnes' Neutral Milk Hotel bandmates Jeff Mangum and Scott Spillane, the Olivia Tremor Control/Circulatory System's Eric Harris and John Fernandes, and Of Montreal's Derek Almstead. The music is lush and beautiful -- and quite a gorgeous, almost majestic, experience through headphones. Melodies rise and fall, sounding very much as if they grew organically out of the French countryside where they were recorded, emerging out of the damp grass after a rain. Though the music is challenging, bordering on avant-garde dissonance at times, it is rarely inaccessible, and almost never off-putting or snobbish. A Hawk and a Hacksaw is easily one of the most creative and interesting discs to come out of the Elephant 6 gang in some time.

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