6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"Led by the light of melody ".... but not as often as we should have been.,
This review is from: Hope Glory Mountain (Audio CD)
Glory Hope Mountain is the debut UK release for Canada's The Acorn, though the band has previously released two albums in their home country . In 2006 the bands front man Rolf Klausener recorded a series of interviews with his mother, Gloria Esperanza Montoya, some of which can be heard imperceptibly in the background of "Sister Margaret" on this album. The interviews inspired a series of songs about Gloria's life, a poignant tribute from her son, which became Glory Hope Mountain. This bold musical biography chronicles Gloria's abusive childhood in Honduras and her escape to begin a new life in Canada.
So Glory Hope Mountain can be classed as a concept album but it is a palpably sincere project eschewing any pretension or gimmickry .The lyrics are understated but undeniably heartfelt and the vocals resonate with empathy and that word sincerity again.
Klausener embraces his mother's heritage and the cultural traditions of Honduras, using elaborate drumming rhythms and native chanting to put across her journey and also uses instruments like ukuleles, banjo's ,trumpets and marimbas along with piano , guitar and some subtle strings.
The end result however , is rather a mixed bag. For every delicate gradated gem like opener "Hold Your Breath" there is a meandering plodder like "Even While Your Sleeping " which may end up sending the listener off to the fluffy land of nod. "Crooked Legs" employs rambunctious percussion against a sprite like trumpet and while the spooky pedal steel and adroit banjo on the lovely "OH Napoleon " give the album some textural atmosphere it isn't sustained on tracks like "Low Gravity " or the sprightly but mundane Antenna" . "Plateau Ramble " is much more like it with dextrous guitar notes and more fervent vocal but my favourite is the closing "Lullaby (Mountain) " with Ohbijou's Casey Mecija's delicate inflection gliding serenely over dappled acoustics and diaphanous strings.
This album is at it's best when it strips back the layers and just lets the songs breathe and the gentle melodies caress .Sometimes it seems the ambitiousness of the undertaking caused the music to take on more baggage than was entirely necessary and consequently bogged it all down. Better I think as "Crooked Legs" says to be "Led by the light of a melody ".