HOME CHURCH ROAD - new album OUT NOW on Single Girl Married Girl Records on CD/LP

 

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HOME CHURCH ROAD reviews:

 

(Home Church Road) opens with a pastoral song and follows it up with lashings of thrash.  There's also a lot of horns, acoustic folk, lo-fi electronics, rousing pop anthems, dark psych moments, and vocals that have an Elephant 6 communal campfire sing-along feel.  It's rough around the edges, but that's part of its charm. (full review click here)

- The Big Takeover (2012)

 

(Home Church Road) celebrates the time when so many things just begin to feel out of character, or that the guiding principles that you had set for yourself (or those set by the deer and the birds and the ants and more) were coming back around to give you a cold shower. They would be remiss to forget to point out to you that the people you've been hanging around with are shitheads, or that you've got your eyes on the wrong prizes. You're doing it all wrong and the sad thing is that you've felt that you've been doing it all wrong for a long time now. Hughes, as a writer, taps into the intuitive parts of the head and the spirit that should be the loudest, but are often told to pipe down because that's how everyone's told to work: fit in a little bit more than you're doing right now. "The Party," an especially great song on the record, is a take on where society stands in its current murkiness, following false idols and creating new, false idols by the second. It takes on a society that wants to be involved, but doing so blindly, with the greatest desire to stay connected only lightly, but to everything imaginable - people, places, things, faith and themselves.

- Daytrotter (2011)

 

Squeaky bouncy clattery presence, full of lo-fi momentum and noise, combines with a melodic through-line that proves irresistible to me.

- Fingertips (2011)

 

There’s still something admittedly inviting about the lo-fi production values and strummy folk-rock that are Hughes’ stock-in-trade here... merging electronic burbles and effects-treated vocals with blistering amplifier feedback and the clarion tones of a clarinet.  This balanced composite of the unwieldy and the understated works in spades for Hughes, allowing even the most cynical of listeners – yours truly included – to take in the alternately utopian and dystopian backstory without any drudgery...  Home Church Road is every bit as musically unvarnished and lyrically circuitous as most lo-fi indie rock, but there’s pleasure to be found in how meticulously Hughes and his new Philly band were in assembling something that at first appears so scattershot.  Dig beneath the surface past the stories of Loki and animals of future Earth, and you’ll find an album that offers just as many fetching melodies and taut grooves as more mainstream fare.

- Delusions Of Adequacy (2011)

 

Warm analog clipping, feverish acoustic strumming and horn fanfare...

- WXPN: The Key (2011)

 

If you are thinking some gentle folk hymns well, you are partly correct. There are some of those but then some cranked up punk gunk and wacked all-over-the-map noise too. I hear a Neutral Milk Hotel influence but these guys have good songs too (unlike some NMH disciples who are too out there…..check out “A Few Years Forward”).

- Dagger (2011)

 

Their latest album, Home Church Road, is so varied that it sounds like a indie-film soundtrack.  Each track bravely charges ahead without fear of connecting to a rewind or fast forward button.  The songs live in the present, flowing from chilly meandering experiments to folky melodies to electro-glitch to hook-laden rock anthems. The collection reminds me it takes more than just good intentions to craft cathartic challenges to traditional indie-rock conventions... It just makes the deadline for inclusion on my list of favorite albums released in the first half of 2011!

- Three Imaginary Girls (2011)

 

For a concept album about a post-apocalyptic world, Home Church Road sure does have the erratic presence you’d expect. Folklore, not surprisingly, seems quite comfortable in the realm of folk songs. But they do throw in plenty of wild, borderline punk ones to match. All of it lo-fi... I’m pleased to hear – and you should be too – a folk-rock band that’s just as comfortable creating something stripped-down and subtle as they are putting a little noise in their melodies.

- Fense Post (2011)

 

Beaverman was a reserved record that rewarded close listening; Home Church Road shows off its strengths... Hughes is comfortable in the role of raconteur. His use of the concept album form owes a debt to Ray Davies, but Hughes doesn't share Davies' cynicism. He has more in common with John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. Though Darnielle's work is more personal, its allure lies in being simultaneously intimate and forthcoming—a quality Folklore has done well to achieve.

- Flagpole Magazine (2011)

 

Home Church Road is a concept album about a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by animals and a priest named Loki. Keeping its back-story in mind, the album is surprisingly melodic and serene. The eloquent lyrics and dark, dramatic tones beg comparison to a more palatable version of The Decemberists' The Hazards of Love.

- Origivation Magazine (2011)

 

After World War Three, and a great geological upheaval on the Earth, mankind becomes extinct, and the animals take over once more: the birds, the deer, the cows, the ants, and a creature named Loki, who rises among them, and proceeds to manipulate them with his “magic.” It’s not the stuff of a lost 1970’s Ralph Bakshi animated film, but the tale which supports the third album by Folklore, the psych/folk/rock band fronted by Elf Power guitarist Jimmy Hughes. An exceptionally gifted songwriter, Hughes writes concept albums that are reminiscent of the approach taken by the Kinks (think Arthur and Lola Versus Powerman), which shouldn’t be too big of a surprise since Folklore once performed the entirety of The Village Green Preservation Society live.  This one’s quite a bit darker, though: Home Church Road follows the cyclical nature of civilizations; animals replace the human race, but quickly start upon their own path to destruction.

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To discuss only the album’s story, however, would be doing a disservice to what really distinguishes Folklore’s music: killer hooks buffeted by a plethora of talented musicians (the lineup here includes 12 band members, as well as additional guest musicians), corralled into the Folklore fold – in this case, drawing from Athens and Philadelphia – and delivering upon a variety of styles, from the laid-back country of “Empty Houses,” to the mesmerizing, sitar-driven psychedelia of “The Ants,” to the raucous rock-and-roll of “The Party.”  The culmination is an album which lives up to the band’s very strong debut The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman; that one drew heavily from Hughes’ friends in the Elephant 6 collective, but the latest finds him setting upon his own path and defining Folklore’s voice with greater confidence.  Home Church Road is distinctive, but for me it’s also something of a nostalgic listen: in the late 90’s and early years of the last decade, it wouldn’t be quite so unusual to get an indie album this effortlessly ambitious from Athens, but recently these kind of records seem a little more rare and valuable.

- Optical Atlas (2010)

 

 

REVIEWS:  2007 - 2010

 

A band name like Folklore will automatically elicit scoffs from headbangers and punks alike, but the band’s fuzzed-out spazz is more like eternal crowd-pleaser Neutral Milk Hotel than Peter, Paul, And Mary. Splitting time between Athens, GA and Philadelphia, lead Folklorist and current Elf Power guitarist Jimmy Hughes heads up two bands on one singular mission to wad up distorted guitars, blaring horns, and hushed-to-hollered vocals into a ball of energy and send it crackling through speakers.

- The Onion AV Club (2010)

 

(Carpenter's Falls is) a lush, epic album with storylines, plots and climaxes. With pronounced experimental and folk influences, the aptly-named band is more akin to the dense psychedelia of Olivia Tremor Control than the indie pop of Elf Power.
- Philadelphia Weekly (2009)

 

The yarns that (Hughes) spins are reminiscent of those that a babbling old man at the end of his days would produce.
- Daytrotter (2008)

 

Folklore’s debut is a lovely opaque work that should appear on all serious Best of 2008 lists… a totally satisfying blend of imagination, truth, myth, personal history, bullshit, nostalgia, experiment and philosophy.

- PopMatters (2008)

 

On last year's The Ghost Of H.W. Beaverman and the new 'companion' LP, Carpenter's Falls, he tells his tales through multiple perspectives and with an otherworldly catchiness. Innocent and melodic as they sound, Hughes' vocals seem to circle up from woozy recollections, as does an instrumental blend that takes in everything from guitar to slide whistle to clarinet to trumpet. For such an esoteric concept, it's got a child-like sense of play.

- The Onion AV Club (2008)

 

The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman is united by Hughes’ surprising strength as both a songwriter and as a storyteller.

- Optical Atlas (2007)

  

Folklore, a new project from Elf Power guitarist Jimmy Hughes with quite an intriguing premise… Sample tune H.W. Beaverman ain't too shabby, packing enough melody into its layers and vocal cataracts to make it worth a download.
- Pitchfork (2007)

  

Folklore provided the best set of a tepid night. By breaking out the clarinet, trombone, trumpet, keys and your standard bass-guitar-drums, these guys were both tuneful and humorous. At their giddiest, they echoed the happiness of Cornershop and The Tragically Hip (with) ode-like lyrics paired well with the sideshow antics from guys who looked like your local bait and tackle shop

workers.

- Isthmus, Madison Wisconsin (2007)

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