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Hackberry: Breathing Space

In theory, I should love this album. Instead, I only like it.

It ticks all the usual boxes for me. It’s instrumental. It’s heavy, sometimes very heavy. It’s spacey in parts. It has intricate playing at times. The songs are long. Also, a friend with similar musical tastes highly recommended it.

But … I just couldn’t get into it as I expected. And the frustrating part is that I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I think I finally understand: I found it a bit fatiguing on the ears. The album is nearly 50 minutes long, but I think they really had material for only 40. I went back and listened to their previous, self-titled album (their debut full-length release) and I enjoyed it more. I think the difference was they had more ideas and they didn’t try to make every song stretch past 10 minutes, like on Breathing Space. Again, I like long songs but sometimes 16 minutes is just too much, as with the opener, “Lunares.”

Don’t get me wrong. Despite its flaws, in my view, it’s a good album. And I think this Dutch band (comprised of Chris Bechtum on drums, Francesco Bonardi and Marijn de Boer on guitars, Tim Hidskes on keyboards, and Simon Venema on bass) has much promise. They certainly have the chops, but they could benefit from a greater focus on composition and concision. Sometimes less really is more and I just found that to be the case with Breathing Space.

Track Listing
1. Lunares (15:48)
2. Solitary March (10:21)
3. Foreshadow (11:44)
4. Manticore (12:06)

Added: February 12th 2024
Reviewer: Aaron Steelman
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 480
Language: english

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