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coverpic flag US - Georgia - Full Moon 84 - 08/12/03

Summer Hymns
Clemency
Misra Records

When you release a debut as amazing as Voice Brother and Sister, it's hard to keep those top-notch records a-comin'. A follow up as good as A Celebratory Arm Gesture is a fine step, keeping the cracking tunes, spiralling woodwinds and gorgeous basslines from Derek Almstead, but making the whole experience more song-based; less of the jams that tied the first album together so seamlessly, but more solid tunes that stand up on their own to repeated listens.

Now Clemency. The trajectory of Zack Gresham and his ever-evolving backing band seems to be clear: less experimentation, less crazy lo-fi psych-pop, and more 'mature', warm sounds. Still a summer album though, Clemency is just more reflective, slow-burning, and has lashings of glorious pedal steel.

I must confess to being initially disappointed on the first few listens, largely due to the difference in sound from the first two records, but it lures you in. None of the songs in particular stand out; it's just 45 minutes of nice country-rock.

I'm sure there's plenty out there more groundbreaking and exciting, but for reassuring, charming songs, you can't go far wrong here.

Copyright © 2003 Tim Clarke e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Summer Hymns articles/reviews: A Celebratory Arm Gesture, Voice Brother and Sister.

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