Hollow Hand - Your Own Adventure (Curation Records)

Hollow Hand – Your Own Adventure (Curation Records)

It’s been over four years since the last Hollow Hand album, the majestic Star Chamber, made its way into the World. Now, Max Kinghorn-Mills is back with Hollow Hand’s third record, Before Tomorrow, with a stellar cast of supporting artists including Holly Macve and Midlake’s Tim Smith.

‘Light Falling’ gently eases the album into life, a short instrumental hors d’ouvres leading into the beautiful ‘Before Tomorrow’ , which brings to mind melancholic Sea Change-era Beck with an elastic bass that sounds like the unlikely meeting place of Mick Karn and Peter Hook. ‘One Last Summer’ follows and comes as a little surprise after that opening, with an upbeat 60s beat feel which somehow equally suits Kinghorn-Smith’s voice. He feels that Your Own Adventure is a sort of half way point between the earlier DIY leanings of Hollow Hand recordings and the pretty lush, expansive Star Chamber. This one was recorded in a bedroom of a house rented with other musician friends. The aesthetic result is a bit like if you imagine the feel of those John Peel sessions that often sounded better than the official studio versions that bands would spend ten times longer recording – the songs have a real charm and you get the idea that they are captured quite organically – it works well. Chris Cohen, who has released three excellent (self-produced) solo albums himself, mixed the album and was evidently on the same wavelength as Kinghorn-Mills, keeping the spirit of the album fully intact.

‘I’m Going To Let You Break My Heart’ features the sublime voice of Holly Macve, which alone should be enough to put this record onto the virtual shopping list of anyone who has ever heard her own excellent albums. Her contribution to the song is subtle but brilliant. ‘All My Love’ features the lines “Out of the darkness / into the light” which is close enough to Wolverhampton Wanderers’ motto “Out of darkness cometh light” to endear itself to me further, if its tuneful Beatles feel wasn’t enough (it was though!) In between those songs comes ‘Heaven Just Watched’, wisely chosen as the track released ahead of the album – it’s probably the most instant song here.

‘Childhood Room’ is such a poignant moment, a paean to a friend who’s “Picture is up all over town / But you’re never coming back”. The line “Old shelves sink down like ships looking for a place to moor” deserves an award all to itself.’Doomed To Roll’ is seemingly the tale of a lost friend who is “here and gone a moment after”, a study of the fragility of life set to a perhaps counter-intuitively upbeat melody. Again, it works!

There is plenty to enjoy on the second half of the album too, the Ben Folds-ishly playful ‘Doomed To Roll’, the perhaps tongue in cheek stylings of ‘Baby You’re So Rock’n’Roll’ with its swipes at a friend of maybe partner who is “Too busy getting high” while their friends “study beauty and light”. ‘Weatherman’ has Byrds guitars and sunny backing vocals and shines through the murky late Winter mist. It’s a great example of the hopeful, appealing nature of Hollow Hand records. Let’s hope it isn’t another four and a half years until the next one!

Your Own Adventure is out now on Curation Records.


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