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The Way the Wind Blows

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Album Review

A Hawk and a Hacksaw have fleshed out the Eastern European folk leanings that first appeared on 2005's Darkness at Noon by introducing the liquid band saw violin playing of Heather Trost and the dervish-like cacophony of the gypsy brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia. The Way the Wind Blows' spirit may have been bolstered by the authenticity of recording portions within the rustic confines of a small Romanian village, but that's a discredit to the endlessly inventive Jeremy Barnes, a seasoned world traveler who spent time behind the kit with one of indie rock's most celebrated team of pop revivalists/revisionists Neutral Milk Hotel. Barnes' accordion playing has grown leaps and bounds since Noon, and he goes toe-to-toe with both Trost and Fanfare Ciocarlia, weaving Beatlesque melodies into Balkan dirges like a man who has the lyrics of Revolver's "Love You To" tattooed on the roof of his mouth. While much of The Way the Wind Blows is instrumental — much of what is not is sung in the style of a group vocal — each cut dances like the orange peaks of a summer bonfire, carving a hole in the nebulous genres called worldbeat and rock & roll with both confidence and grace.

Biography

Formed: Albuquerque, NM

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Originally started by former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes, A Hawk and a Hacksaw released its self-titled debut, on which Barnes played all the instruments and which explored 20th century American music, in 2004 on Leaf Records. The next year, after enlisting help from tuba player Mark Weaver, trumpeter Dan Clucas, and violinist Heather Trost, Barnes and the band issued Darkness at Noon, which was recorded in the U.K. and in Barnes' native Albuquerque, New Mexico, and delved into both...
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The Way the Wind Blows, A Hawk and a Hacksaw
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