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the declining winter - Haunt the Upper Hallways
Richard Adams of Yorkshire's post-rock pioneers Hood returns with a surprise second long-player then, following on from last year's Goodbye Minnesota. As with that record, Adams is joined by brother Chris (his Hood bandmate) plus Manyfingers man Chris Cole along with a host of other supporting players. The title track (and album opener) instantly transports you to the kind of idiosyncratic acoustic frameworks that held together classic Hood recordings. It's a familiarly stark, rustic sound-world, full of tumbling beats and sweeping, harmonised violins, yet in this context it takes on an altogether poppier discourse. 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' is full of dolour and lyricsim, yet it's also packing a bit of a punch thanks to the hip-hop-in-a-barn quality of the drums. 'My Name Is In Ruins' follows suit with a line in plucked dulcimers and whooshing layered vocals, while the strings really start to take hold during 'Hey EFD' - it's a wonderful thing, similar to Rachel's or Max Richter in a downsized sort of fashion, yet it's frustratingly short at under two minutes long. There's also the spindly fingerpicks of 'Goodbye Lights Ls28' and the brilliant 'Come On Feel The Willingness' which further expands on Adams' baroque-pop leanings. Gorgeous music - Highly recommended.