Review Summary: Warmth and serenity.
While listening to Raising your Voice…Trying to Stop an Echo
, the listener can’t help but feel a rich sensation of warmth and serenity. As opposed to the band’s far superior predecessor, this album happens to be uplifting in the more traditional light. “I can Almost See you” and “Passing Away” aside, this Hammock outing is mostly devoid of any sense of sadness or sorrow. Whereas Kenotic
gives off the vibe of adding profound beauty to the often dreary parts of nature and life, Raising your Voice
evokes the feeling of the overwhelmingly warm, optimistic part of life. It also happens to be quite strange how the sometimes negative song names juxtapose perfectly with the straight up endearing way they present themselves in audio form. Even though some of the song names can easily throw off the listener at first glance and also drag at some points, any flaw can easily be overlooked and become greatly outweighed by the positives. By means of soaring ambiance, more post rock/shoegazing driven songs and tranquil guitar work, this album is surely to brighten up the listener’s day.
Though it certainly doesn’t shy away from solely ambient pieces of music, this record makes incredible use of the band’s post rock and shoegazing sound. Aided by an inspiring vision of passion and powerful soundscapes, the title track exists as an exceptional wall of sound driven song. It even has soothing vocals to top it all off. Much like the title track, “…Like Starlight into Day” proves to be another masterful endeavor in that same light, but it happens to be far superior. Not only is the guitar work trippy in the profound sense, but it also manages to make the listener feel on a deep level due to its moving nature. The acoustics and textured clean guitar tones collide together for a full sound perfectly, as well as the fantastic drumming and vocals adding an extra level of atmosphere. Meanwhile “Floating Away in Every Direction” serves as another album highlight, but also combines the two elements of post rock and shoegazing to create one of the best songs of its kind. The ambient guitar swell and lead into a gentle yet lovely guitar melody, but the song soon climaxes into one of Hammock’s most moving moments. The emotional guitar work soars on and the many textures really inspire the listener. The sensational wall of sound and strings used to close out the song is also a nice touch. It’s songs like these that truly makes Hammock a worthwhile listen.
Opposing some of the songs mentioned above are the more ambient driven tracks such as “I can Almost See you” and “Passing Away.” Both thoroughly sad, they each really drive home the essence of feeling a larger than life feeling of sorrow. They’re perhaps a bit out of place in the record’s overall mood, but they nonetheless prove to be exceptional pieces of music set aside. The beautifully bleak ambience of “I can Almost See you” opens up the record and it’s safe to say that it kicks it all off with a subtle bang. The overwhelmingly sad nature of the piano melody nearly brings tears to the listener’s eyes. Aided by female vocals providing another layer, the melody keeps getting higher, making for an even more moving ending. “Passing Away” appropriately is about as dreary as one would think. A hopeless anthem of loss, this track really drives home the general vibe it strives for by its stunning minimalism.
In addition to inappropriately named songs, the record does tend to overstay its welcome at some points however. Unlike Kenotic
, which showcased interludes that did not make the record overlong, Raising your Voice
contains interludes that are straight up unnecessary. Songs like “Clouds Cover the Stars” and “Sparkle and Fade” could have easily been omitted because they interrupt the overall consistent flow of the album. It simply gives off the impression that these types of songs were included in the package to extend the length of the experience to an unnecessary degree. “Sparkle and Fade” unfortunately brings the record to an underwhelming close and it really makes the listener wonder why the band didn’t make the ironically titled “Will you Ever Love Yourself” the album’s swan song. A solely texture driven song by means of inviting guitar work, this song would have been a much better choice to end things.
Any nitpick aside, Raising your Voice
really has a way of making the listener expel a huge sigh of relief as the album runs its homely course. Never losing grip of its beautiful qualities and rarely becoming cheesy, this album has definitely found its well-earned place into the post rock hall of fame. Though it does break up the flow and mood of it all with an off putting opener and pointless interludes, it’s nearly every bit as affecting as its predecessor nonetheless. Not to mention how it possesses the same level of charisma as their more well-known peers. This exists as a gem in the genre that any hardcore fan should not pass up. If “Floating Away in Every Direction” teaches the listener anything, it’s that the expertly crafted combination of post rock/shoegaze/ambient seems made for each other and this album as proves to be an amazing starting place for that.