US - Georgia - Full Moon 62 - 11/01/01
A Celebratory Arm Gesture
This summer (yes, long since gone on these shores...[sigh]) Summer Hymns released A
Celebratory Arm Gesture, their second album presenting more of their very special pop
hymns. Peculiar music with a twist. Sleepwalking soundscapes of utter calmness. Summer Hymns
are: Zachary Gresham (lyrics/vocals/guitar/piano/samples, etc.), Adrian Finch (guitar/saxophone/
vocals/synth/violin/lap steel, etc. - who's also one of Masters of the Hemisphere), Dottie
Alexander (organ/piano/clarinet/flute/vocal - she's also a member of Of Montreal), Derek
Almstead (bass/perc/guitar/banjo/trombone/autoharp, etc. - also to be found in Of Montreal),
and Philip Brown (drums/perc/piano/effects). What do their arm gestures mean this time.
Afer a short orchestral-warm-up introduction, One More Teardrop turn up, being sort
of a corny 60s-ish heartbroken pop schläger. Like a Roy Orbison song sung by Brian Wilson, with
a slowmotion whirlwind of a wood-and-brass-cacaphony thrown in. Get it? Dazzling. Then comes
the more up-tempo, organ driven Fuzzy Side of Life, which is just great 'off Broadway'
pop. Think first generation Flying Nun Records bands (the Chills, the Bats, and such), and
you're somewhere near. Warm and catchy, cool and lovely. Something's Going On sounds like
it's holding an entire symphony within. Fascinating. That's the great thing with Summer Hymns -
their sound float everywhere, intruments are all over, making a thin web so strong it holds you
captured till the music's over.
Trolling On The Lake is treading water around the same musical 'lakes' as Grandaddy
(The Crystal Lake - a connection, or...?). Great song. Yes, there's more here for fans of
Grandaddy. Such as I Could Give The World Away (the lap steel makes goose bumps!) and
Everything At Best. Then comes the heavenly Closure Eyes, a song of sheer, instant
beauty. In these times of war, terror and chaos this could be the solution for world peace at
The album opens and closes with instrumental tracks: The Twilight and The Daybreak.
A day in the life of Summer Hymns. Soothing. I rest my case. Get it? Just get it.
Yes, of course there are guests appearing, among them Bren Mead (of Masters
of the Hemisphere)
and Peter Erchick (of The Olivia Tremor Control). Amazing circle of
friends and colleagues, Elephant 6...
Psst! Check out the first Summer Hymns album, Voice Brother and
Sister, as well.
Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen