Chasing After Shadows...Living with the Ghosts

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On Chasing After Shadows...Living with the Ghosts, the duo of Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson pushes into ever higher states of ecstasy. Finding new ways to express beauty through music is a commendable goal, necessary to the spirit of both performer and audience. Hammock have always had the ability to do this in spades. Here they tap into more acoustic textures as a mode of expression, leaving behind for good their electronic-based dream pop roots. Transcending the simple guitars and effects that channel the music, Hammock find more nuance in their songwriting and production techniques than before. Chasing works as an entire piece, not a mere collection of songs. Perhaps this is not so much an album as it is a relationship, from the initial bloom to the exquisite melancholy and finally to finding the strength to start again -- point being that there are powerful emotions at play throughout, all different but tied to the same universal subconscious source, a simple faith that beauty and youth and goodness will forever triumph over ugliness and our own inherent darkness. The temptation to slip into melodrama with music like Hammock's must be immense, but Byrd and Thompson know when to push over the top and when to pull back, take in the surrounding view, and pour that beauty into their songs. And they do this over and over again. The exhilarating thing about this record is that they walk this line, between being at the top and going over. With Chasing, Hammock carve a path that leads to perfection. As objective a concept as perfection is, it is hard to think of what Hammock have achieved here as anything else.

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