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Hush Arbors

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Album Review

It's not quite a major-label debut but with their first album on Ecstatic Peace!, Hush Arbors have shown that they can bring their own form of heavy psych freak-out and dreamy folk contemplation to a higher level. Starting off with the fuzz bang of "Water" (which also concludes the album in a second part), the self-titled release from 2008 deftly moves from style to style with ease, showing that dexterity of approaches which increasingly marks many artists working in that general field. Hush Arbors can easily go full-on perfect and pretty — "Sand" is an absolute delight, the kind of warm-toned acoustic/electric guitar mix that suggests timelessness just from the playing, the feeling of hot summer late afternoons come to life, but that's far from the only sound on offer. So songs like "Gone," with its ragged sounding but still precisely played arrangement and gentle chorused vocals, feel of a piece with the voice and guitar only "Rue Hollow" and the more mixed "Bless You," feedback and more starting to arc in over the course of the performance. Keith Wood's fragile, clear singing provides a gentle counterpoint to the sometimes raucous playing, but often it's a matter of him letting the music take control, vocals fading away softly or otherwise interweaving amid the sounds.

Biography

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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Hush Arbors, Hush Arbors
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