I am going to start with saying that this has been my favorite new album of the year, thus far. The variety of sounds that dance throughout the tracks begin with an acoustic guitar lead on the first track, and follow with densely reverberated electric guitars, a dismal piano chord progression, synthesizers–and I am pretty sure I heard a harpsichord been the track “Down.”
It took a few listens to wrap my head around the soundscape A Thousand Hours was going for. So I ask before I listened all the way through. Red Collier of A Thousand Hours said that “It’s weird, not shoegaze, not dreampop, or slowcore, but everything.” By whatever term we can all agree on someday, this album is not shoegaze or dreampop, but it is heavily up there with the fragments of influence that have influenced the genres.
One of the sounds that are profoundly present were the guitar riffs and licks that sound very much like something Robin Guthrie would present to us. They are so ambient, they become visceral. The whole album is very much this way, and every time I took a listen, I was swallowed into this soundscape that suddenly felt like something tangible. Not many albums that are as embellished as this one can present a cohesive, sonic focal point.
Having put the Guthrie comparison on the table, one thing that the guitars are not on this album is redundant. This is perhaps the only major reason I would not peg this into the shoegaze genre. Such albums rely heavily on a consistency of the wall of sound produced by the band’s guitarists, and that usually remains throughout, but then everything else becomes secondary. This is an album where different instruments are highlighted throughout, and it becomes orchestral in that respect.
There are a lot of other elements that make this album akin to 4AD acts like the Cocteau Twins. That comparison was touted elsewhere, on another review, and I am only reemphasizing that here. If you like the variety of chill sounds a Deerhunter album can bring to your commute or listening to soothing vocals set to mesmerizing sounds like that of Blonde Redhead, this album will not disappoint. It is also very much lovely and soft, in the way a that Mazzy Star’s “So Tonight That I might See” is. There is just so much solace to look forward to in the vocals as much as there is in the beautiful simplicity to the guitars and keyboards.
Comparisons aside, so you can get the eclecticism of it anyway, this album definitely stands out on its own. While it is hard to pick a favorite track, I will present to you one that I found as the sexiest: “Tender.” Simple, delayed single strum of a guitar with a sedative bassline leading the way, this track’s flame is only further ignited by Red’s echoed, soft moan-like singing. The jangled guitar comes in towards the build-up to the chorus, and it sounds like a flutter of sexual tension. I mean, if you’re going to have sex to an album. Try this one.