CD REVIEW: Angelhaus - Hinterland
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT
Angelhaus is one of those grass roots bands that sounds like folk even though it’s got a stage full of electricity. That comes mostly from the kind of recording it is. Remember what that first Woodstock double cd sounded like? A rather studio sound done utterly live? Well, reverse that and cut the 2 cds down to 20-something minutes and you’ve got a pretty fair idea of what to expect in the guise of dueling vocals and soft rock sound.
Ruth Renee Baumhover and Joe Baumhover are the main muscle behind the vision; she, on lead and other vocals, he, on voice, guitars, harmonica, bass. When ‘drums’ are listed for a contributing musician, you know the beat isn’t the end all. The soul derived from this special and 60s-spiritual sound is a degree of warmth for the words and the seasons behind them.
My favorite is the vocally laid-back ‘You Are the Absence,’ which seems to elicit energy just by breathing. Yeah, I’m not sure what that means either. But consider Joe’s soft poetry of ‘Dreams, all fury and noise, drown out my choice to listen to You (the choice that is You). I want to hear the sound of Your still, small voice here, as the night is falling, You are the absence calling, You are the absence calling.’ Joe reminds me a little of Neil Young when he sings, coming against the acoustic guitar and slight rhythm tap from the drummer, and then the blues electric guitar that takes one note at a time. And at the ends of sentences sometimes, there will be female vocals adding into it, giving Y a rather CSN&Y effect, when you let the sounds wash over you.
Poetry IS the dominating force. On the back of the cd there’s even a quote from Joe’s ‘Reminder’ poem, published by U. of S. Dakota Press. So words are hip and hippie around here. ‘First Love’ goes something like ‘I sought a home in many loves and mouthed an empty prayer, but when the first fire’s gone at least, no second can compare.’ There’s more, but you’d do well to hear the subtle accompaniment.
I’d recommend this to live folk folk, those that listen to the birds because they have more infinite wisdom than Beastie Boys and naked navels. There’s a hint of utterly fresh, oven-baked music here, and on the right plates, it can be delicious.
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