The Cycle of Days and Seasons

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The Cycle of Days and Seasons contains but one season, and that is fall; from the gloomy-skied photo of leafless trees on the cover to the autumnal music found within, this album is about the season of decay. It is also notable, as Hood's fourth proper album, for its documentation of yet another paradigm shift for the band, this time from the shoegaze/slowcore of Rustic Houses Forlorn Valleys to the eventual electronica-informed fractured minimalism of their swan song, Cold House. As if the previous shift from Swell Maps/Pavement/Sebadoh-influenced short-attention-span indie rock, with a usual 20-plus relatively short songs per album, to the six long songs on Rustic wasn't drastic enough, this time around, with only eight shorter songs (plus three uncredited and untitled sketches), Hood have incorporated crackly records, incongruous samples, and dublike effects revealing an interest in glitch and trip-hop. Many of these songs are barely there at all -- they seem to shimmer in the distance like hot roadway, and threaten to crumble if you get too close. The vocals, featuring substantial contributions from the band's sole female member, Nicola Hodgkinson, fade in and out of the mix as warm colors fade into blues at dusk. Isolation is a key emotion conveyed by this song cycle, especially by the addition of mournful trumpet and somber strings. With suggestive song titles such as "September Brings the Autumn Dawn," "How Can You Drag Your Body Blindly Through?," "...The Cliff Edge of Workaday Morality," and the even more obvious "Hood Is Finished," this album evokes a soul in surrender to the dying of the light, a period of life tinged with regret and foreboding, resigned to this "cycle" being the seasonal introduction to a cold, lonely winter.

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