Just a few years ago I gave a largely favorable review to the debut album from Living Hour. And now, the band's newest record, Softer Faces, out on Kanine Records on Friday, reveals an impressive progression of the group's brand of music.
If it felt like Living Hour was, perhaps, a bit beholden to their influences before, the tunes on Softer Faces confirm less obvious debts owed, and a more unique sound. "Hallboy" floats in on the faintest whisper of a hook, while "I Sink I Sink" is a slow-burning gem. Elsewhere, "Before You Leave" uses a hint of jazz to carry things forward, while the elegant "Slow Shines" rolls and tumbles into the ether. A number like "Inside" chimes, but it's such an elegiac sort of chiming that one hesitates to trot out terms that would get this band labelled a shoegaze or dream-pop act.
And while it would very easy to call Living Hour that sort of band, there's something post-rock about how these tunes barely form only to fade away again. What's most impressive about the music here is how easily Living Hour lets these melodies gain lift-off, like balloons released into the skies. Fans of the recent Slowdive stuff will find lots to love here on Softer Faces.
Softer Faces is out on Friday via Kanine Records.
More details on Living Hour via the band's official Facebook page.
Living Hour is playing D.C.'s Songbyrd Cafe next week.
[Photo: Uncredited press picture]