On the clipped heels of their last release, Summer Hymns
drop an album length EP, that plays cards held back on 2003's
Clemency. Fool's Gold vaults over the band's established
alt country chops and makes way for a wilier down home skew
reminiscent of My Morning Jacket's Chocolate And Ice
EP which allowed the band some between album space to molt
into their next incarnation. "Behind The Locked Door"
(from George Harrison's All Things Must Pass),
drifts on a watery cradle of steel pedal that sounds like Neil
Young quietly baying at the moon. "Fear The Law",
echoes back on itself, almost like the Flaming Lips summoning
Steely Dan with an abusively white funk undertow of tin
can percussion and keyboard riffs just inches out of step with
the rest of the track.
Zachary Gresham's voice has a bough breaking fragility
to it that has the effect of nestling you closer, a voice that
charms by toying with its own implosion. He sounds like Neil
Young with someone crumpling a pack of ciggies in the back of
his throat. If Fool's Gold works as a foreshadow, then
it's likely that the most exciting records from Summer Hymns
have yet to be made. Though love for Clemency came easy,
the record still seemed staid and muted, a barrage of good reference
points with very few claim stakes. Fool's Gold, though
ostensibly a collection of cutting room floor bits, showcases
a broader range than the record, presumably because, as a filler
collection, there was no need for the corralling imperative
of an album.
That loosened scope allows for tracks that, while having second
cousin kinship to country, pull in a much broader swath of sound.
"Pharmon", slips in with a buzzing dragonfly of feedback,
and vocals breathed out and released into string-filled wind
tunnel. What starts as a whimsical acoustic pop track, quickly
derails into loose psychedelic chaos. There's enough of the
trembled harmonies to sate fans of their debut and enough genuine
surprises to rein in those not wholly sold the first time around.
1. Fear the Law
2. What They Really Do
3. Behind That Locked Door
5. It Takes Two
6. It's Just Not Right
8. Crazy Baby
10. No Butlers
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