I mentally divide my music collection into two categories: driving-albums, and non-driving-albums. Examples: Electrelane – Axes. A perfect example of a driving album. Doveman’s Acrobat – much adored, but so clearly a non-driving album. Sure, I get crossovers, but more likely than not, it’s the driving-albums that work themselves into my home. But it’s a rare and special event when I find albums that fit and even exceed both categories so perfectly, and I’ve discovered a new one. Yep, that’s right. Me. My discovery.
This album has not only bridged my somewhat unfair classifications, but has given me the yearning to purchase, and maybe even learn the accordion. This hasn’t happened since my obsession with the banjo shortly after purchasing Great Lake Swimmers’ self titled in 2003 [And no, I never bought one of those, either, but this love affair is different than the others]. Ladies and gentlemen: A Hawk And A Hacksaw – The Way the Wind Blows.
I’ve listened to this album repeatedly, almost without deviation, since purchasing it. I get more and more attached to a new track with each listen. While at home, I browse eBay while listening to the opening track, and figure I can purchase a second-hand Italian accordion, including postage for just under two hundred dollars. While on my way to work, I hear the tuba on Gadje Sirba and feel the need to drive faster and flip people off. Back at home after work during the foreign rambling and swarm of horns that begins Fernando’s Giampari, I realise that there are no eBay listings for an oud, and probably for the best. The instrumentation throughout is amazing, but I really enjoy that Jeremy Barnes’ vocals are stronger than in his previous releases. If I had to draw attention to one particular track, it would be Song For Joseph. This favourite child was easy to pick and put on a pedestal— Sleepy accordion, swirling and chanting vocals, and Heather Trost’s borderline abrasive strings, particularly at the end of the track.
If my vague and non-descript words aren’t inspiring you to don a gypsy skirt and join a Russian carnival circuit, and you’re already in the large population of people who already know of the Neutral Milk Hotel, [maybe unavoidable] Beirut and [most importantly] KARL LAGERFELD connections, you may want to have a listen.