A Hawk and a Hacksaw have fleshed out the Eastern European folk leanings that first appeared on 2005's Darkness at Noon by introducing the liquid band saw violin playing of Heather Trost and the dervish-like cacophony of the gypsy brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia. The Way the Wind Blows' spirit may have been bolstered by the authenticity of recording portions within the rustic confines of a small Romanian village, but that's a discredit to the endlessly inventive Jeremy Barnes, a seasoned world traveler who spent time behind the kit with one of indie rock's most celebrated team of pop revivalists/revisionists Neutral Milk Hotel. Barnes' accordion playing has grown leaps and bounds since Noon, and he goes toe-to-toe with both Trost and Fanfare Ciocarlia, weaving Beatlesque melodies into Balkan dirges like a man who has the lyrics of Revolver's "Love You To" tattooed on the roof of his mouth. While much of The Way the Wind Blows is instrumental -- much of what is not is sung in the style of a group vocal -- each cut dances like the orange peaks of a summer bonfire, carving a hole in the nebulous genres called worldbeat and rock & roll with both confidence and grace.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger