The Hanging Stars


It’s no secret around here that the last Hanging Stars record was a favorite. Part of the ever-evolving UK Cosmic American wave, Hollow Heart found the band toughening their sound and turning in a record that pulled as much from the aughts-pop guitar gods as it did from the desert haze of psychedelic country. On A Golden Shore still finds the band inhabiting the later lineage, but they’ve let go of their grip on the darkness and desire of Hollow Heart. The band’s Richard Olsen has noted that the band were striving for something more ‘baggy and Balearic’ while still wading through the waters of Country. The album succeeds in its strive, carving out a sound that’s more homegrown, with nods towards the late ‘90s this time.

Take away some of Joe Harvey-Whyte’s yearning pedal steel work and drop in a percolating beat and you could turn “Happiness Is A Bird” into a properly lush Brit-pop hit. Speed up opener “Let Me Dream Of You” and it gains a ‘90s bounce. As I say, you could, but instead the band lays back into the luxury of a Californian calm. The group laces a gossamer looseness over their works, a golden glow that’s worthy of the album’s title. In that sunset shimmer, the band turns the supple songwriting into a lounge chair charmer, a cool breeze brother to Hollow Heart that feels like the early afternoon easing out of the night before. The wave of Cosmic Country has been coming quick these past few years, but the delightfully English spin that the band puts on the sound solidifies them as a true outpost in the East — the Starry Eyed and Laughing to Rose City’s Flying Burrito’s breeze. The last album built expectations, but On A Golden Shore has leaped over them with ease.

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