Hammock
Everything and Nothing


4.5
superb

Review

by Benjamin Kuettel STAFF
May 1st, 2016 | 298 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Under endless clouds…”

Hammock is a musical duo, which may come as a surprise given the wide range of instrumentation that grows as the years have gone by. Recently enhancing their moments of contemplative soundscapes into the main style was a risky move to say the least. Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson’s style of choice is one that is prone to bore and grow stale if not executed in just the right way. However, the duo has shown time and time again that they possess a full command of their post-rock and ambient sensibilities, emphasizing the latter in recent years by setting the guitars aside.

Predecessor Oblivion Hymns and the re-issues of The Sleep-Over Series fully embraced the more minimalist side of Byrd and Thompson’s sound. While great releases, they lacked the aural diversity that prevailed so well in records like Raising Your Voice… and Departure Songs. In a somewhat surprising move, this latest from Hammock features the most percussion and vocals of any album they’ve ever recorded. “We Were So Young” sees Byrd passionately singing of nostalgic musings relating to the optimism of youth. The abstract reflections are central to Everything and Nothing, with vocals and lyrics impressively embodying much of the album’s depth. “Dissonance” and “She Was in the Field Counting Stars” share similar themes of bittersweet longing, with male and female vocals interplaying gorgeously. However, much of the album’s focus lies in fuzzy shoegazing and uplifting guitars. The aural beauty of Oblivion Hymns is retained, only this time they’ve added a rock band.

The return of guitars for Hammock is certainly a welcome change, as Byrd and Thompson always use them to maximum effect. As before, the airy melodies mesh with the dreamy atmospheres seamlessly. Forays into dream pop like “Glassy Blue,” “We Could Have Been Beautiful Again,” and the uplifting title track make up many of the album highlights. These hazy, cathartic ballads bring to mind the likes of Slowdive, while the moments of driving percussion and vocals recall the likes of The Smiths and The Cure. Pure ambience is hardly ever prevalent for more than a few minutes at a time, but interludes do exist to break the almost 20-track album apart. Like any other Hammock release, the calming, drifty tempos are still utilized here, but challenged quite a few times. One such example lies in “Burning Down the Fascination,” with vast canyons of low end courtesy of three layered bass guitars for grinding riffs throughout. A surprising move for Hammock in an album full of them, along with the pseudo-90’s rock vocals in the aforementioned indie song “We Were So Young.”

Despite the forays into new territory for the duo, much of Everything and Nothing revels in solemn tributes, a la “Marathon Boy” and the emotional “Reverence.” The neoclassical elements of recent releases have been stripped back, but the use of violins remains central to the emotional impact. “Turn Away and Return,” “Reverence,” “Wasted We Stared At The Ceiling, and “I Will Become the Ground You Walk On” simply would not express the poignancy that they do without the violins. Hammock utilize string instruments perfectly as always, with the guitar-driven tracks being the most immediately memorable, especially with the newly prevalent vocals. These compositional strengths shine in the most satisfying ways throughout, with live instrumentation, electronic beats, and droning guitars convalescing together wholeheartedly. Ultimately, Everything and Nothing is an emotional journey fraught with pain, bittersweet, conflicting emotions, and glorious catharsis. Hammock continue to evolve in refreshing displays of mournful, yet also uplifting explorations, always making the voyage unexpected and sincere.



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user ratings (192)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Rowan5215 STAFF (4.5)
in the field, counting stars in the rearview mirror...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
April 30th 2016


5593 Comments


Awesome review. This is looong, but I'll basically be suckered into anything with pretty strings so I'll give this a check tomorrow.

Digging: The Body - O God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, Judge of

tacos n stuff
April 30th 2016


3137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

do it arch, aoty so far tbh

Mongi123
April 30th 2016


19861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome review dude, and seriously one of your best. Incredible album and my aoty so far.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2016


17846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks guys, and happy 60th review to me! I think this is my first post-rock/ambient review, and will probably concentrate on writing for that style more from now on.

Digging: Thom Yorke - Suspiria

tacos n stuff
April 30th 2016


3137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

You do you Toad!

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2016


17846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

This, Under Summer, Ursa, and Gore are my top favorites of the year so far.

tacos n stuff
April 30th 2016


3137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I do quite like my taco side

but none of that sour cream shit

tacos n stuff
April 30th 2016


3137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

and talon, don't know how much of a fan of doom/riffs you are but Zorya by Sunnata was a pretty killer 2016 release

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2016


17846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I consider myself a major fan of doom and riffs, thanks for the rec. Check out the link above the first comment for my Black Wizard review, some monstrous riffs there as well.

tacos n stuff
April 30th 2016


3137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

on here? I mean, im a sucker for their vocal tracks, so "unspoken" and "wasted..." i like a lot. "I will become..." is also lovely but too damn short

tacos n stuff
April 30th 2016


3137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

oh hey 900 comments

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2016


17846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

All the songs in between Marathon Boy and I Will Become The Ground You Walk On are amazing. Most of the last quarter of the album is pretty ambient, but We Were So Young is a cool indie song that you might dig.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2016


40734 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

talons swoopin' in and stealing that flagged review from me



but for real, great review man

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2016


17846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

haha thx Row; that certainly wasn't my intention, I just wanted to still get my thoughts out. I was working on this since it was released but it's taken forever to post cause life got in the way.

Pangea
May 1st 2016


2713 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pretty as fuck

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


17846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Right now this is tied with Departure Songs for my third favorite after Raising Your Voice... and Kenotic.

Mongi123
May 1st 2016


19861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's good, I know a common critque of the band is how long their records are, but this and Kenotion are just right.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


17846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

The music is so entrancing and immersive, the long album lengths work for this band.

ashcrash9
May 2nd 2016


3021 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Couldn't pick out a single song from here on its own but they're all damn pretty. Definitely gonna have to give this more listens.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2016


17846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

this makes me want to start a post-rock band



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