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Yankee Reality

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Album Review

Hush Arbors have drawn their musical blueprint around languid, atmospheric, folk-rock and full-bodied psychedelia that occasionally drifts into thundering hard rock, and for their third full-length album, Yankee Reality, the band has found a more than sympathetic producer in Dinosaur Jr. leader J. Mascis. Mascis co-produced Yankee Reality with Justin Pizzoferrato and contributes guitar, drums, and Mellotron on a few tracks, and the results sound as if a kindred spirit is tagging along for some adventures in the green, leafy meadows of their music; this album may lack the monolithic force of Dinosaur's best work, but the melodic structures (and Keith Wood's vocals style) in many respects recall Mascis' more tuneful and restrained moments, and with a like-minded colleague at the controls, Hush Arbors have made one of their best works to date. Most of the tracks on Yankee Reality move at a deliberate pace, but this band clearly knows where it's going, and the pastoral mood of songs like "Day Before," "Fast Asleep," and "So They Say" belies the emotional intensity that bubbles just below the surface. The guitar work from Wood and Leon Dufficy is low on flash, but sketches out the melodies with clean, bold strokes, and Jason Ajemian's bass and Ryan Sawyer's percussion give the melodies a firm foundation and a gentle but insistent forward momentum. And while Hush Arbors' folkie side dominates Yankee Reality, the group still finds room for their electric guitars to make their presence felt as punctuation, and the closer, "Devil Made You High," is an exhilarating exercise in hard rock noisemaking that distills the melodic calm of the previous nine songs into one concentrated blast of power. Hush Arbors have focused their creative energies to superb effect on Yankee Reality, and few albums with this much quiet possess the aural weight that makes this so satisfying.


Formed: April 30, 1977 in Charlottesville, VA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Hush Arbors began in 2001 as a solo vehicle for Virginia-born singer/songwriter and guitarist Keith Wood. Wood had worked prolifically as a touring auxiliary musician in freak folk and experimental acts like Sunburned Hand of the Man and Six Organs of Admittance, and his acid country/drifter folk solo work fell in stylistically with those peers. Early Hush Arbors recordings came in the form of limited CD-R releases on the Digitalis label, and it wasn't until 2006 that early CD-R album Since We Have...
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Yankee Reality, Hush Arbors
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