Much like The Brobecks, The Hush Sound is a semi recent discovery that has consumed me like I have been listening to them for years. Since The Hush Sound received their own ‘Discovering’ post a few months back, I want to draw attention and give appreciation to an album of theirs that became a fast favourite. Released in 2006 through Decaydance Records and Fueled By Ramen, Like Vines is a twisted fairy-tale with highs and lows explored through dark romanticism. Among the unique, beautiful sound the album is filled with overwhelming inspiration that overflows the fountain of creativity and has aided in breaking down my writer’s block multiple times. However it’s an album that can inspire any variety of art or simply just something to become obsessed with.
Beginning with the jaunty, feel good ‘We Intertwined’, the opening track is where Like Vines finds its namesake in the lyric ‘like vines we intertwined.’ From the first few jumping piano notes, it’s obvious The Hush Sound’s sophomore effort is more evolved than their debut So Sudden but still holds that stand out staple sound fans have come to love. ‘We Intertwined’ differentiates Like Vines from the mainstream of its time by putting an emphasis on the musical-like elements through a mixture of trumpets but keeping things relevant by including more contemporary guitars and drums, pushing forward a narrative that can be weaved together no matter where in the album you begin.
A Dark Congregation
The intro of ‘A Dark Congregation’ adds a funky element to Like Vines and is made up of infectious piano, guitar and an insatiable toe tapping beat. The track keeps the album fresh through changing up Bob Morris’ mellow vocals to Greta Salpeter’s crooning ones, something that is done at various points throughout the album. ‘A Dark Congregation’ keeps things in a lower tone than ‘We Intertwined’ with a more rock infused twist, the electric guitar a stark contrast to the piano notes but still coming together as a beautiful compliment to one another. The lyrics of the song are painted as vivid images in the mind’s eye by the clever use of instruments such as the tinkling bells behind ‘our breath rose in the cold/like a hundred souls’ and adds another layer of admiration for Like Vines.
‘Lions Roar’ is a helter-skelter of a song, beginning as a light and quirky piece before Bob’s vocals burst into a drawn out theatrical end. Creating images of a circus romance where the narrator is chasing the girl of his dreams, getting caught up in the extravagance of the circus and becoming overwhelmed as she remains just out of his grasp. ‘Lions Roar’ is a showcase of The Hush Sound’s story telling talents in just under three minutes with the swirling sound conveying the confusion and frustration of the narrator.
Don’t Wake Me Up
Like Vines is made up of a multitude of dreams, creating a landscape preferable to the real world even in its melancholy terrain. ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ continues the theme of chasing love and being cruelly ripped away from that love moments before finally catching it. The slow start of the track, drawn out by Greta’s beautiful vocals, conveys those comforting moments of entering a dream but the building of instruments toward the chorus vibrates with the threat of knowing you are not in control. The sudden emergence of the chorus through heavy drums, guitar and piercing piano as well as a changing up of vocals, jolts ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ into a different vibe that makes the song endlessly intriguing and one you will no doubt keep coming back to. Having Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) featured on the track also doesn’t do any harm.
‘Magnolia’ is completely entrancing and a track that goes out of it’s way to sweep you off your feet, no doubt succeeding by the time it reaches its toned-down end, giving you a few seconds of silence to fully digest the feelings it has awakened. Whilst the lyrics may be harrowing, the way in which they are sung combined with sound of the song are captivating with a twisted, romanticised vibe. ‘Magnolia’ is infused with a dark melody that finds its way to your core, twisting its deep roots around your heartstrings and just keeps pulling you back replay after replay.
Lighthouse and You Are The Moon
Whilst being two separate songs, ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘You Are The Moon’ share similar elements to a point where they could be two parts of the same story. ‘Lighthouse’ tells the tale of two people escaping from a dying world, seeking refugee in a lighthouse with one protesting for fear of a ghost who lives there. In the end the two join the ghost in the lighthouse, unsuccessful in escaping the danger of the world around them. Both the lyrics and the haunting sound are almost unnerving but still manage to draw you in with the same captivation that is weaved throughout the entirety of Like Vines. ‘You Are The Moon’ shares a similar but more simplistic sound and could be an extract from ‘Lighthouse’ by how it sings of a love as beautiful and as unattainable as the moon. Within ‘Lighthouse’ the ghost’s former love is briefly mentioned, leading to ‘You Are The Moon’ possibly being an extension of this doomed romance – or, at least, that is my interpretation.
Like Vines is by far one of The Hush Sound’s best albums through its musical innovation and creativity that make it something enjoyable and still a damn good album twelve years later. If you’ve never listened to Like Vines before then I implore you to check out the remaining tracks ‘Sweet Tangerine’, ‘Where We Went Wrong’, ‘Wine Red’ and ‘Out Through The Curtain’ to get the full experience The Hush Sound have created.
Review by Skye W.Winwood