A Hawk and a Hacksaw

Délivrance

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On DELIVERANCE, A Hawk & a Hacksaw's fifth full-length, former Neutral Milk Hotel percussionist Jeremy Barnes, along with violinist Heather Trost, continues to explore the musical traditions of Eastern Europe and the Balkans by way of the quirky songwriting of Elephant 6-style indie pop. While the New Mexico-based duo aren't totally impervious to cheap shots of cultural pastiche (at best) or appropriation (at worst), there is an obvious love for and a deference to tradition in songs such as album opener, "Foni Tu Argile" (actually a Greek folk tune), and "I Am Not a Gambling Man." Most importantly, Barnes and Trost get at the emotional heart of the folk forms they utilize--their dual pathos and sense of celebration--and it is that reason above perhaps all else that their music remains potent.

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