Departure & Farewell (CD)


Hem

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Amoeba Review

04/01/2013

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Hem, the bluegrass-tinged indie pop band who first broke hearts with its stellar 2002 album Rabbit Songs. Though it’s been four years since their last release, Departure & Farewell still has the ascetic beauty of classic Hem songs like “Half Acre” and “Betting on Trains.” Hem’s power often is in their simplicity — “how I miss you” singer Sally Ellyson sings at the end of the gothic, jazzy “Walking Past the Graveyard, Not Breathing,” with the piano following her every slowly uttered word, allowing them to land like arrows. “Tourniquet” sees the band in the sort of sweet lullaby mode of their original songs, when Ellyson auditioned for the band with a tape of a cappella lullabies. Hem have always written about travel and missing the ones you love, but never with the finality of songs like “Traveler’s Song,” “Last Call” and “So Long.” “Hey, I am gone,” Ellyson sings simply on the quietly devastating title track. It can’t help but feel like the band is saying goodbye, too; if that’s the case, they’ve left us with a remarkable set of work, capped off the gorgeous Departure & Farewell.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Departure and Farewell
Hem 03:25
2.
Walking Past The Graveyard, Not Breathing
Hem 02:51
3.
Things Are Not Perfect In Our Yard
Hem 02:21
4.
The Seed
Hem 01:39
5.
The Jack Pine
Hem 03:11
6.
Tourniquet
Hem 03:56
7.
Seven Angels
Hem 02:25
8.
Gently Down The Stream
Hem 03:29
9.
Bird Song
Hem 01:35
10.
Traveler's Song
Hem 01:59
11.
The Tides At The Narrows
Hem 02:28
12.
Last Call
Hem 05:00
13.
So Long
Hem 02:59

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