Hibernate Records have come up with the goods on a regular basis when it comes to intelligent and atmospheric instrumental music. One could say it’s quite a coup for them to be the chosen home for a new album featuring Hood members but maybe it’s those Hood members themselves who are the lucky ones, as Hibernate have taken them under their wing. The Memory Drawings project boasts its own string section courtesy of cellist Florence Fawcett, Joel Hanson’s dulcimer and Sarah Kemp on violins. Add in Chris Tenz’s banjo too and you have the makings of a versatile chamber folk crew.
‘The Island Of The Day Before’ is possibly the closest we get to Hood territory. The backing players create that distinctive rustic environment and Richard Adams’ sighed vocal and doleful guitar add to the blissful despair which characterised much of Hood’s back catalogue. Meanwhile the drawn out percussion on ‘There Is A World Without You’ will immediately cast minds back to 1999’s morose classic ‘The Cycle Of Days And Seasons’.
However, this is largely an album where the arrangements and interplay between the band members hold the key, rather than references to individual and past performances. Each wordless piece is a moving, achingly sad document, possibly to the ruins which dominate the album’s artwork, or perhaps just to life’s disappointments and regrets. Either way, it works. Even short fragments like the refined ‘I Could Live Like This Forever’, or a stately piano-led ‘In The House At Midnight’ make their mark on the soul and ‘Golden Afternoon’ manages to sound both merry and ominous at the same time. Most poignant of all, though, is the glorious title track which would have fitted perfectly on This Mortal Coil’s ‘It’ll End In Tears’.
The album is bolstered by a bonus CD of re-works and alternate versions. The most impressive contributions including full-bodied re-interpretations from Ryan William Fitch and typically chilling offerings from both Talvihorros and A New Line (Related). There also some lovely female vocal-led re-workings too, including a take on the title track which is the equal of the original.
Hood, The Declining Winter, This Mortal Coil