Hush Arbors – Yankee Reality

January 01, 1970

(Ecstatic Peace!)


Keith Woods, who records under the name Hush Arbors, has
played with many of psychedelic folk’s leading lights – Current 93, Six Organs
of Admittance, Sunburned Hand of the Man and Wooden Wand among others. His
eleventh full-length (and second on Ecstatic Peace!) pulls away, a bit, from
the transcendent folk loveliness of last year’s self-titled, quickens the pace
and jacks up the country two-step under another set of very strong songs. Yankee Reality opens with freewheeling
guitars – in “Day Before” one of two tracks where J. Mascis sits in on guitar –
and whispery vocals, its warmth as watery and uncertain and welcome as the
winter sunshine of its lyrics. “Lisbon”
brings in the skittery one-two beat of Saturday night country (it returns, with
Mascis drumming this time, in with “Coming Home”).


Woods’ backing band includes long-time collaborator Leon
Dufficy, along with a jazz bassist Jason Ajemian (Chicago Underground Trio,
Born Heller) and drummer Ryan Sawyer from Lone Wolf, Tall Firs and Stars Like
Fleas. It’s a solid crew, beefing up the rhythm section considerably, and
facilitating a more rocking sound. Yet for all this propulsion, we seem to give
up some of the floating, dreamscapery of last year’s self-titled. Yankee Reality is less mysterious, more
raucous and accessible. It also saves its two best tracks for last. Penultimate
“While You Slept,” jangles with a bluegrassy psychedelia, soaring in its chorus
(“Far away…far away”) into untethered gorgeousness. “Devil Makes You High” amps
up its distorted guitars, Woods’ voice drifting in a falsetto over fuzzy
avalanches of feedback, a day dream, an anthem and an overload of rock turbulence
all at once.


Standout Tracks: “While You Slept”, “Devil Makes You High” JENNIFER KELLY


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