Hammock - Everything and Nothing - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Hammock - Everything and Nothing

by David Bruggink Rating:8 Release Date:2016-04-01

Everything and Nothing is a new ambient/dream-pop album from Hammock. No, I'm not going to gratify you with an obligatory joke about Hammock's choice of name and their propensity for ambiance and uber-pleasant sounds. So let's get right into this review.

This is the first Hammock album I've heard, and I must say that I am surprised by how densely and pleasantly textured it is. 'Turn Away and Return' begins the record with gorgeous subtlety, as if pulling you inexorably into a wonderful dream. Angelic snatches of voice, cello and guitar gradually intertwine as a thorny but benevolent bass-synth shudders underneath. Bottomless depths of reverb are balanced by glimmering acoustic guitars and clear melodies that rise to the surface, and the production throughout is crisp and powerful.

'Glassy Blue' brings classic, Souvlaki-era Slowdive to mind with its deft mingling of male and female voices, smudged together like watercolours, and by this point you'll be wondering whether this album could possibly get any prettier. But this is also its chief fault – its melodies are always overtly pretty, but are sometimes so ubiquitous that they seem to compose a pleasing but featureless landscape. This is especially true on tracks like 'Clarity' or 'Marathon Boy', where the lack of tension or dynamics starts to make Hammock's sound feel just a tad too aimless and repetitive.

But at 16 tracks, it is a hefty album, and there's so many undeniably beautiful songs here that the presence of several that don't measure up isn't too important. 'Before You Float Away into Nothing' is pure, resplendent sunshine translated to soaring organ and synthesizers; 'Unspoken' even features shades of Enya in its diamond-like purity; and 'Dissonance,' though a slightly more assertive track, is submerged in enough cavernous delay to ensure its appeal to those who like their post-punk nice and gauzy.

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