Hammock: Asleep In The Downlights
Hammock Music

Sure to appeal to listeners already seduced by Hammock's intensely atmospheric blend of post-rock and shoegaze, Asleep In The Downlights bolsters its appeal by including lyric and vocal contributions from Steve Kilbey and Tim “timEbandit” Powles of The Church on half of the EP's four songs. Shortly after the release of its fourth album, Chasing After Shadows...Living with the Ghosts, Hammock issued a digital-only EP of out-takes featuring instrumental versions of the songs that now include vocals by The Church members.

Kilbey adds lyrics and a vocal performance to the heavily atmospheric “No Agenda” and amplifies the song's delicate grandeur in the process. Initially hushed in tone, the song grows in intensity as it moves towards a chorus that opts for measured control over detonation before ending with the same understatement with which it began. Powles assumes the vocal reins on “Verse for Forgiveness,” a melancholy shoegze ballad delivered in a slow, 6/8 time and boosted by the emotive cello playing of Matt Slocum and the vocal presence of “Angel Voice of Forgiveness” Holly Rankin.

The EP also contains two new tracks by Hammock. One could mistake the band for Sigur Ros during the opening minutes of “Sinking Inside Yourself,” what with the song's treated vocals and chiming guitar figure, though the track gradually asserts its Hammock character in the luscious flow that eventually expands into a grandiose mass, within which the first-ever vocal from band member Andrew Thompson is only faintly audible. Marc Byrd sings on “Parkers Chapel,” a slow and stately exercise in shoegaze balladry that also exudes a trace of Sigur Ros in its entrancing vocal melodies.

Though four different vocalists contribute to the EP, their individual contributions don't stand out as dramatically different from one another, for the simple reason that, throughout the twenty-two-minute EP, one's attention remains fixed, first and foremost, on Hammock's powerful instrumental persona.

December 2011