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.
Squeaky bouncy clattery
presence, full of lo-fi momentum and noise, combines with a melodic
through-line that proves irresistible to me.
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.
Of Adequacy (2011)
analog clipping, feverish acoustic strumming and horn fanfare...
- WXPN: The
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”).
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
- Three Imaginary Girls
concept album about a post-apocalyptic world, Home Church Road
sure does have the erratic presence you’d expect.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
- The Onion AV
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)
that (Hughes) spins are reminiscent of those that a babbling old man at
the end of his days would produce.
- Daytrotter (2008)
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.
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
The Ghost of
H.W. Beaverman is united by Hughes’ surprising strength as both a
songwriter and as a storyteller.
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
- Pitchfork (2007)
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
Madison Wisconsin (2007)
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