Having now recorded four albums, Nashville’s Hammock have become an acclaimed act in the field of ambient music. Their last recording, ‘Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow’ seemed to be an outlet for their minimalist ideas but ‘Chasing After Shadows…’ is a different beast altogether, with layer upon layer merged to achieve maximum dreampop thrills.
‘The Backward Step’ is certainly a gorgeous opener; collating the best bits of Robin Guthrie and wrapping them up in to a strident, epic melody. ‘Tristia’ is more akin to Sigur Ros with “big emotions” to the fore but similarly impressive in the final analysis. After this, their successes are sporadic. ‘Breathturn’ employs some breathy wordless vocals but it’s the kind of empty gesture that has been the stock-in trade for M83 in recent years. ‘Andalusia’ begins languid and relaxed but then the waves of sound come crashing down, with many other tracks following in a very similar formula until the eventual end of the record.
‘Chasing’ is an initially beautiful record but after seventy minutes of gently shape-shifting dreaminess, the effect can become quite soporific. If they could temper the OTT moments of this record with the less is more approach of previous releases, album number five could be something special.
M83, Sigur Ros, Robin Guthrie