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Review: Hatchback—’Zeus & Apollo’

Zeus & Apollo is most definitely a summer night album.  It starts out completely relaxed and builds slowly, but don’t expect any frenzied guitars or gloomy lyrics—or any lyrics at all, for that matter.  This is New Age at its best.  It’s the kind of thing that you’re meant to sit back and enjoy while you’re feeling especially mellow.  It made me think of lying out in a field, gazing at the stars after a few pints, and maybe a whiff or so of some absolutely legal substances.  Zeus & Apollo is relaxing; when I was listening to it for the first time, I left myself this note: “well, this is just really pleasant.”  Past me was right.  It is really pleasant.  That having been said, it’s also technically complex, an example of thoughtful and accomplished musicianship.

The album opens with “Hotaru.”  It feels big and floaty, like the sensation you get in the first few moments of stargazing, when all you can see is the night sky.  The more you immerse yourself in the song, the more you can feel it easing any tension you’ve got.  “Orinoco Waltz” is darker, more cinematic; moody and evocative, yet relaxed.  This is the feeling you get when you’ve been looking at the stars for a while, and start thinking about how insignificant we are.  It’s sobering, but at the same time, you realize that there’s a whole universe of possibilities out there.  “Sunrise Prototypes” is more upbeat, filled with the lighter side of wonder.  Actually, it does feel kind of like a sunrise. “Tapir Tango” opens with some static, and plays with ideas of tension and discord, rounding things off nicely with a brief foray into Asian influences at the end of the song.  “The Violet Sequence” made me think of walking rain-soaked streets in an episode of Miami Vice, but that might just me.  It definitely brings in some 80s influenced synths, though.  Closing the album is “Zeus & Apollo,” opens with a clap of thunder that fades into rising synths and chimes.  Again, this is New Age.  But it’s also not satisfied with mimicking what’s come before it.  This is fresh.

Zeus & Apollo is fluid and evocative.  There’s a sense of continuity, even though each song has a different flavour than the others.  These flavours complement each other quite well, coming together to make a very filling meal.  Give it a listen; it might be a handy album to have around next time there’s a spell of warm weather.

-James Melville

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