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The Hackles (from the album what a beautiful thing I have made available on Jealous Butcher Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
An Indie supergroup of sorts, The Hackles feature Kati Claborn (vocals/guitar/banjo/clarinet) and Luke Ydstie (vocals/guitar/bass/keys), musicians who claim a prime pedigree courtesy of their work in the band Blind Pilot, and Halli Anderson (vocals/violin), known for her role in both Horse Feathers and River Whyless. As one might expect given those particular credentials, The Hackles draw their sound from the echoes of Folk music circa the early ‘70s, doing so credibly and convincingly
That’s immediately apparent with the opening strains of what a beautiful thing I have made‘s initial entry, “Damn the Word”, a melody that drifts along on the pluck and hum of the fiddle/banjo combo as gentle support for Claborn’s heart-worn vocals. The songs mostly tend to be rather wistful, with delicacy taking precedence over determination as far as the delivery is concerned. “Hum With the Worms” is as elusive as its title might imply, while “James’ Drink” more or less drifts along at an eerily unobtrusive pace.
That’s not to say The Hackles aren’t capable of making a more emphatic impression. With their three-part harmonies and ethereal arrangements front and center, several songs radiate with pure hallucinatory cinematic suggestion. “Birdcage” allows for its own delirious delivery, while “Pictures of Elvis”, its title notwithstanding, is softly seductive and flush with a kind of lofty aural imagery:
‘Now I got my hands in my pockets walking back from town
And the rain only jacket is the only sound
And it keeps on coming while the boys pretend
That it’s going to get batter before the end’
This, then, is a sound that’s both intimate and assuring, one vested with a quiet mystique that resonates throughout the album as a whole. It’s a sentiment that’s well expressed in the delicate designs of the title track itself and a lyric that suggests, ‘where there’s a need or a will there’s a door open still…’.
Calming yet compelling, what a beautiful thing I have made lives up to its signature statement. Songs such as “Steve” and “First Time for Everything” prove the point, but there’s not a single song here that doesn’t find that bond between fragility and finesse. Credit The Hackles for making an album that’s both moving and majestic. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of The Hackles from AMAZON
For more information, please visit The Hackles website
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