Backward Masks

Backward Masks

by Summer Hymns
     
 
As of their fourth full-length, Backward Masks, Summer Hymns are a trio of multi-instrumentalists, with founder/members Zachary Gresham and Philip Brown now joined by Chris Riser. But the band remains a showcase for Gresham's contemplative musings, delivered in a fey high

Overview

As of their fourth full-length, Backward Masks, Summer Hymns are a trio of multi-instrumentalists, with founder/members Zachary Gresham and Philip Brown now joined by Chris Riser. But the band remains a showcase for Gresham's contemplative musings, delivered in a fey high tenor that occasionally breaks into falsetto, yet never becomes emotional. Gresham's dreamy vocal persona, supported by the slow tempos and shambling rhythms, is particularly notable since his lyrics, which are easily discernible for the most part, are overwhelmingly concerned with romantic love. "I like the way you walk/I like the way you walk into your room," he begins on the first track, "Way You Walk," and by the fifth song, "Fearanoia," he is declaring, "There's no reason for you to be afraid of love." No reason to be afraid, it seems, but the singer's object of affection might have reason to be frustrated with her paramour, if his other observations about himself are to be trusted. "I was passed out on your floor," he sings in "Pity and Envy," "while you banged upon my door." Indeed, Gresham never sounds ardent in these songs of love; most of the time he sounds like he's having trouble staying awake, and thus it's no surprise that the performances sometimes break down suddenly, after starting with a lazily strummed acoustic guitar. Still, Gresham's hapless character remains ingratiating, and that's the charm of the songs, which keeps them from being as self-consciously arty as they otherwise might be. Echoes of the Beatles and the Byrds of 1966-1967 abound, but as a singer Gresham is borrowing most prominently from Ray Davies of the Kinks; his very enfeeblement is part of his attraction, and he knows it.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/21/2006
Label:
Misra Records
UPC:
0656605503127
catalogNumber:
31
Rank:
255715

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Summer Hymns   Primary Artist
Valerie Watson   Background Vocals
Taylor Davis   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar
Derek Almstead   Bass Guitar
Matt Stoessel   Steel Guitar
Phillip Conway Brown   Percussion,Piano,Drums,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Bells,Timpani,Group Member
Lynn Boland   Euphonium
Chris Riser   Banjo,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Harp,Horn,Saxophone,Background Vocals,Mellotron,Upright Bass,Lap Steel Guitar,Piano (Upright),Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Scott Stapleton   Piano
Mark Stephen Warren   Electric Piano,Piano (Upright)
Jeremy Boger   Bass Guitar
Aaron Jollay   Trombone
Brian Noose   Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Chris Bishop   Engineer
Chris Colbert   Engineer
Summer Hymns   Arranger,Producer
Phillip Conway Brown   Arranger,Producer
Chris Riser   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Asa Leffer   Engineer

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