Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: hicksoncompactgroup “Slow Sounds of Summer”

            As I listen to this cassette, summer is coming to its close as we are now in September, yet for the past couple of days (and on and off for the past few weeks) you would certainly not be able to tell the weather that summer is over.  We (as in Connecticut) have been hitting what feels like the 90s during the days and, yes, for CT that is quite hot.    Call it a heat wave, call it Indian Summer, I don’t care it’s just beyond what the temperature should be like right now.

            So I go into this cassette with summer still fresh in my mind because not only was summer just last month it still feels like summer here and when you look outside and see everyone wearing shorts and tank tops you get that overall beach vibe anyway.    The songs themselves on here though don’t remind me that much of summer, except perhaps for their mellow qualities which could bring to mind the laziness of spending a summer afternoon in a hammock in the shade.

            It starts with this triumphant ambient synth drone but carries over into FNL and then the sound of glasses or bowls being played as musical instruments somehow, which of course brings up the obligatory reference to Jay Peele.    This trend continues throughout the first side and it isn’t until the second that we open with some “Tom Sawyer” type of space synth, which could be spent looking up at the stars on a summer night.

            Side B does take a turn for the quieter though before getting the build back.  It reminds me of how most things are done in summer- all at once or not at all.  You spend time swimming in the pool, then spend time just relaxing outside of it in an effort to dry off or wait for food to settle.  It is that on/off switch of summer that comes out here in the building sound.

            Guitars are also ever present in the songs of Side B, more so than on Side A, and I can hear it become a little bit darker before the eventual uplifting synth kind of ends the cassette.   You need to understand that this is entirely instrumental, yet in those last moments of the cassette I can hear the mother saying to the children, “All right, come inside now.  It’s getting dark” to which the kids give a defiant “Awww, just five more minutes” to which she complies and victory is had to make summer last that little bit longer.   

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