When folk music comes together (and I mean, when it really clicks) there’s a certain sense of calm that overtakes you. It surges in, not quite in a hurried manner, but with a sort of subdued urgency. It simply says, “Listen, but no rush, man. I’ll be right here when you need me.” All the while, you wonder what it is that draws you back, away from the go-go-go of everyday life. You wonder what makes the music so truly magnetic. Hip Hatchet’s recent Joy and Better Days is saturated to the brim with this sensation.
The 12-track album is devoid of anything remotely attention hungry. It moves along at a steady, deliberate pace, pushed forward by Philippe’s warm, glowing vocals and intricate instrumentals. Meticulous guitar and banjo strummings support the vibrant vocal melodies and a modest set of piano and woodwind soundscapes. And while not present throughout all of Joy and Better Days, percussion and double bass make for some powerful, far-reaching additions.
Detailed nuances are more than apparent – chairs creak, guitars click and singers sniff – all befitting the homegrown style Philippe set out to establish. This attention to detail evokes a certain dimensional ambience so desperately needed in today’s boiler plate culture. As a result of this, some minor missteps in performances can be easily overlooked, and even considered a defining trait of the album.
Within his nonchalant nature, Hip Hatchet has developed a tamed, but addictively endearing effort aching to be explored in Joy and Better Days. Though this review doesn’t warrant a track-by-track rundown, the entire album is full of beauty and isn’t meant to be skipped through.
It fits a certain mood, and shouldn’t be expected to carry your attention on a leash. Instead, the album requires a sort of aeration period and flows much like a river. You can fight it, or just jump in and let go.
Sounds like: Iron and Wine, Joe Pug, Feist
Stand out tracks:
“American Charm” “Sing Me a Reprise” “Limits and Rules”
Take a listen to my home-brewed instrumental/electronic/indie album
"Where Were We When" and download it for as many coconuts as you can spare.
Coconuts are delicious, though their milk tastes like pond water.