Hem: Rabbit Songs (2002)


Hem
Rabbit Songs; 2002
Dreamworks
My Rating: 80/100
I’ve heard Hem’s style called Country-Politan, but I’d term it High Americana. While most alt-country bands keep their noses in the dirt, HEM spends their time looking for the flowers in the old gardens of American music, putting the emphasis on Bernstein more than Guthrie. In this sense, Hem’s debut remains a landmark. There’s none of the irony of punk kids singing gospel songs with a Tennessee twang to be found, only the sweetness of the symphony and the angelic timbre of Sally Ellyson. Let me just ask: who’s done anything like this before or since? Sure, there are moments when the lush orchestration threatens a comfortably numb monotony, but there are too many brilliant songs here, from “Half Acre” to “Idle” to “Stupid Mouth Shut”, to let it happen. Although RABBIT SONGS is not the place to start with HEM, as it lags and loses focus toward the end, it is nevertheless a great debut. Highly recommended for the starry-eyed soul.
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Tracks:
1. Lord, Blow the Moon Out Please
2. When I Was Drinking (4/5)
3. Half Acre (5/5)
4. Burying Song
5. Betting on Trains (4.5/5)
6. Leave Me Here (4.5/5)
7. All That I’m Good For (4/5)
8. Idle (The Rabbit Song) (5/5)
9. Stupid Mouth Shut (5/5)
10. Lazy Eye (4/5)
11. Sailor (4/5)
12. Polly’s Dress
13. Night Like a River (3.5/5)
14. The Cuckoo (3.5/5)
15. Waltz (4/5)
16. Horsey (4/5)

rabbitsongsHem
Rabbit Songs; 2002
Dreamworks

My Rating: 80/100

I’ve heard Hem’s style called Country-Politan, but I’d term it High Americana. While most alt-country bands keep their noses in the dirt, HEM spends their time looking for the flowers in the old gardens of American music, putting the emphasis on Bernstein more than Guthrie. In this sense, Hem’s debut remains a landmark. There’s none of the irony of punk kids singing gospel songs with a Tennessee twang to be found, only the sweetness of the symphony and the angelic timbre of Sally Ellyson. Let me just ask: who’s done anything like this before or since? Sure, there are moments when the lush orchestration threatens a comfortably numb monotony, but there are too many brilliant songs here, from “Half Acre” to “Idle” to “Stupid Mouth Shut”, to let it happen. Although RABBIT SONGS is not the place to start with HEM, as it lags and loses focus toward the end, it is nevertheless a great debut. Highly recommended for the starry-eyed soul.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Consistency (4/5)

Tracks:

1. Lord, Blow the Moon Out Please
2. When I Was Drinking (4/5)
3. Half Acre (5/5)
4. Burying Song
5. Betting on Trains (4.5/5)
6. Leave Me Here (4.5/5)
7. All That I’m Good For (4/5)
8. Idle (The Rabbit Song) (5/5)
9. Stupid Mouth Shut (5/5)
10. Lazy Eye (4/5)
11. Sailor (4/5)
12. Polly’s Dress
13. Night Like a River (3.5/5)
14. The Cuckoo (3.5/5)
15. Waltz (4/5)
16. Horsey (4/5)

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