Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame [2000]

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If the goal is dim, murky, and sensuous, then Hall of Fame has found it. The trio's third, self-titled release (as distinct from their debut album, three years previous) shows that earlier comparisons to such New Zealand avatars as Flies Inside the Sun were not only accurate but well-deserved in terms of quality. Perhaps crucially, though, Hall of Fame doesn't mind adding more conventional prettiness to their compositions, and this brief but fascinating album is easily able to cross the gap between drone-laden shadow and reflective, sweet songs, often within the same tune. Those who get off on lo-fi as an end unto itself will find Hall of Fame exactly up their alley, but there's much more going on here than a sad wannabe poet in a bedroom. Hints of the worldwide music collage of, say, the Sun City Girls and similarly broadminded compatriots turn up in the odd time structures and differing percussion instruments, while the group's allegiance to the Tower Recordings crew makes perfect sense with the off-kilter mixing and wonderfully obscure imagery that crops up. Songs like "Feedback Rising," with its drumless loops and whirls of crumbling noise, and the multipart jam of "Cuneiform Calling" aren't designed for easy listening, to be sure. On the flip side, though, others like "Waves of Stations" and "Motion Passings" are straightforward guitar pieces, though as they go on, things start to take on a more involved, open-ended complexity. Singer/instrumentalist Samara Lubelski's voice calls to mind the similarly hypnotic approaches of Kendra Smith and Nick Drake, echoed a touch to add to the quiet wash of the music. Both Theo Angell and Dan Brown appear to contribute vocally as well -- at the very least one does. Most of the time, however, instrumentals are what's on display, and wonderful they are as well.

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