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Summer Hymns
Fools Gold
Misra Records
www.summerhymns.com


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.

-Terry Sawyer

Track Listing:

1. Fear the Law
2. What They Really Do
3. Behind That Locked Door
4. Butterflies
5. It Takes Two
6. It's Just Not Right
7. Pharmon
8. Crazy Baby
9. Capsized
10. No Butlers


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