The Hanging Stars
Holding up the banner of UK psych-country, The Hanging Stars have been working through their own particular desert for a few years now, but with Hollow Heart the band boil down their influences into a heady, cosmic brew. Rolling in doses of widescreen ‘00s psych-pop, ranging from Dandies swagger to the crystalized ozone grip of Soundtrack of Our Lives and Darker My Love, the band balances their soft-froth croon with a darkness that suits them. Where past albums were content to jangle and pick, here the band thickens the sound, filling in songs with a gnarled guitar grace, levitating steel, and a cascade of voices. It’s those stacked vocals that might elevate the album the most — highland harmonies that find space up where the air is clear.
Hollow Heart feels like an album that’s lodged between moments, hovering in the vapor between eras. While it embraces the current wave of indie-bred cosmic country, it’s not beholden to the mold. At the same time there are songs that would have absolutely crushed alt radio when those aforementioned ‘00s bands were stretching from college radio towards arena openers. There’s a feeling that this album should hit certain heads right in the sweet spot, and while their profile in the States is relatively low, I’m hoping that it finds a few of those folks reclining in this particular sonic canyon. Influences aside, the album sparkles with a sundown serenity that’s welcome anytime. Don’t miss this one.
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