When the name of a band is a reference to either a Joni Mitchell album or the Arabic word for journey, you would be forgiven for thinking Hejira are a painfully serious, dour and pretentious proposition. This assumption is only about halfway right. Where it is clear that Hejira take their music - a brand of brooding, soulful art rock - awfully seriously, this is a band with the talent to back up their high-minded ideas.
'Prayer Before Birth' kicks off with a chiming, hypnotic guitar figure before descending into a lumbering, slow building piece sitting on a repeating, sinister groove which has shades of The Cure about it. It is only the icy cold layers of vocals that manage to break up the incredibly dense sound and mood of the piece.
This thick, brooding atmosphere is perhaps the signature characteristic of 'Prayer Before Birth'. Most of the album's other songs stick to the formula, most notably in 'Time' and 'Dust'; both feature endless layers of incidental noises, echoes and effects-laden instruments. These songs really explore ideas of tension as they build slowly to a point where the music feels like it is swirling out of control.
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