For Hammock, Departure Songs is where it all comes together. Every disparate strand and sound conjured over the past eight years is no longer separated by song or by album, but layered on top of each other on a release that encompasses and near enough perfects the depth and breadth of the Nashville duo's back-catalogue.
Yes, there are no moments of filed-down, Eno-aping, aching bliss that hit the mark of 'Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow', and no dream-pop epics that reach the heights of 'Shipwrecked', but Departure Songs from start to finish is a soaring blend of celestial shoegaze and billowing ambience that has the power to transform provincial town commutes into sagas and hangovers into states of nirvana.
That only two tracks of the 19 found on Departure Songs have running times significantly under five minutes is an indication that this is an album in which nothing is cut short, and yet at no point is a welcome overstayed. Most tracks fit between the 5:59 and 6:59 marks, and this feels like the perfect time frame for a band like Hammock, and gives the album a chapter-by-chapter feel; each one just the right length to tell a story without thinning it out and to give a different view without becoming lost in the plot. In this sense, it is the perfect companion to Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, and shares with it an imagery of mythical landscapes in which the aura is key and not the objects in the foreground.
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