Longest Year

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A little digging uncovers why Hammock might have called this EP The Longest Year: 2010 was something of an annus horribilus for them, with the first floor of Marc Byrd's house filled with water and debris when a hundred-year flood hit Nashville, TN. However, Hammock's music is just as graceful and thoughtful as ever, and these five tracks serve as a respite from, as well as a response to, hardship. The Longest Year opens with its title track, which is also the longest song -- eight minutes of slow, arcing drones and carefully plucked guitars that sound more and more massive as they unfold. It’s clear that Hammock's devotion to Sigur Rós is still strong, yet once again the band makes this influence its own, with a more substantial foundation that suggests mountains instead of castles in the sky. “Dark Beyond the Blue” reaffirms just how easily Byrd and Andrew Thompson imbue their compositions with emotion, its tones flowing from sadness to hope as imperceptibly as dawn overtakes the dead of night. “One Another” suggests communion with its shimmering washes, while “Lonely, Some Quietly Wander in the Hall of Stars” takes the opposite tack, its vastness making listeners feel minute. The Longest Year marks a distinct departure from Chasing After Shadows...Living with the Ghosts' more structured, percussive tracks; these reveries float and glide all the more majestically for their almost complete lack of beats, making it even easier to be absorbed by them. Whether this is a one-off for Hammock or a sign of things to come, The Longest Year's beauty is undeniable.

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