Hear The Track Here
I think I've proved beyond all shadow of a doubt that I am a big fan of DIY. Not, of course, the do-it-yourself mania of home/garden/dog etc that seems to fascinate the rest of humanity but do it yourself as in; form a band, make a recording, release it and so on. I'm a firm believer in the smaller types of record labels we are seeing online and one - Denizen (from Nottingham) - introduced me to Hhymn who you may remember me reviewing a while ago. These Hands (December 2010) was the track in question and it ended up getting both a Must Have rating and these closing comments : 'awesomely pretty' and 'a wonderful blend of styles'. It is also happens to be track one off their new CD which I have just spent some quality time with. It's a ballad and I love it so that should tell you all you need to know.
Yes, I know, but that's how good These Hands is. Not Before I Go embellishes the reputation earned from that track and show that Hhymn fit easily somewhere between the Doves and Elbow, and IMHO outwrite them as far as pure, old fashioned songwriting goes. While I have to honest and say that I don't really have much time for the bands I mentioned, it just shows how much this band has their finger on the modern pulse. If that's so, you may argue, it's a tough world commercially so what makes this band different to the ones I have mentioned. The songs, obviously, but it's in their instrumental lineup that they score for this listener. Pulling in the very best of English musical culture, the tracks on In The Depths will only, I think, help to bring them to wider attention. More to the point, there is not a track on this CD that doesn't deserve the space and that isn't something you see much these days. Take a look at the two very slick videos for two tracks on You Tube if you need the visuals and you'll see I do not exaggerate.
Hhymn are a five piece, Ed Bannard, Simon Ritchie, Amy Heliwell, William Jeffery and Michael Wynne, helped out on a couple of tracks with guests, but essentially it's the tightness at the centre of the band that helps this CD to establish it's own voice and style. For sure, as much as I might make comparisons, in truth this is a band who really don't sound like anybody else - and for that they should feel some pride. To make a commercially viable CD is an incredibly difficult and time consuming process, to make it with songs that are little jewels of pleasure is nothing less than a labour of love. Weld all that to a very professional look and production and IMHO you have the very best that unsigned England can offer you. But get aboard now, because if anyone can do this, Hhymn can and I don't think the world can ignore them. This is an incredible achievement in every respect and I can't rave enough about it. I doubt that I'll hear anything else this good this year.
MUST HAVE state-of-the-English-art.