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Délivrance
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Delivrance" is the fourth LP from the Albuquerque duo A Hawk and a Hacksaw. It could be their most consistent, inventive and formidable release yet.

A Hawk and a Hacksaw consist of accordion prodder and drum basher Jeremy Barnes and violinist Heather Trost. Together they create their own fabulous brand of European folk music. On this release they have collaborated with a troupe of Hungarian musicians to beef up the sound and add to the fun. So, we hear the blast of trumpets and the comedic parp of tubas. A saxophone also rears its sassy head, as well as more trad folk instruments such as a bouzouki and some wonderfully played cimbalom.

To the music - "The Man Who Sold His Beard" features twitchy rhythms and accordion, strings and brass rubbing their melodic shoulders together. "Kertesz" contains a quirky vocal line from Barnes and some rattlingly fast cimbalom. "Hummingbirds" has a tremulous violin and more teeth-grindingly rapid cimbalom playing. "Raggle Taggle" is a maudlin, slow-paced violin ballad that wheezes along like a peasant in his twilight years......then mutates into a jaunty jig! "Turkiye" is a musical concoction of stomping beats, frisky horns and accordion and fiddle.

My favourite tunes at present would have to be, firstly, "Vasalisa Carries a Flaming Skull Through the Forest" : This is a haunting, sinister composition by Heather Trost that sounds like music for dancing skeletons! Secondly, the album's closing tune, "Lassu", is a blinder, with many surprise chords on the accordion and a high-pitched, slightly warped violin lead line that is sweetly sorrowful.

"Delivrance" is a deeply satisfying musical journey. If you like the idea of virtuoso folk musicians delivering relentlessly rousing, beautifully executed tunes then this album is a must buy.
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on 24 June 2009
New Mexico goes world, just as affiliate Zach Condon's precious Beirut did. He did Mexican death march, café accordion and Balkan grind; they achieve a polka party showcase with their euphoric Hungarian folk. Full marks for authenticity, drafting in a rag-tag bunch of East European players and the effect is often startling. `The Man Who Sold His Beard' is a confusion of instruments, influences and direction until an accordion restores order. The sad strings of `Raggle Taggle' are otherwise forgettable until a drastic tempo change brings some polka square-dance to the mix. `I Am Not A Gambling Man' houses a vocal that recalls that of Beirut, and witnesses a successful blending of his iconic brass.

Easily as impressive as Alaska in Winter's work, or that of Devotchka, this latest A Hawk & A Hacksaw release is irrepressibly optimistic, but perhaps less impressive in context. Take it to Budapest, impress it with your knowledge of cathedrals, sit it down in the main square and it will all make perfect sense, but in doing so it may lose its other-worldly sparkle.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2009
I guess I was hoping for something as exciting as Rodrigo and Gabriela. I am not sure what Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost add to the music of the band they worked with in Budapest. It's as though they were trying for something like the mix on Gypsy Beats and Balkan Bangers and didn't quite pull it off. Maybe I'm missing something ...
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