These past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Hip Hatchet‘s Men Who Share My Name album. Hip Hatchet hails from Vermont, and is the work of Philippe Bronchtein (vocals, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, piano) and several of his friends. The songs are acoustic, featuring traditional instruments like clarinet, bassoon, and violin, and are built with delicate harmonies and spacious arrangements. Indeed, the album reminds me of the wide-open Vermont spaces that I’ve so often wandered – especially those moments when the Sun finally fades, and one is left only with conversation to hold the night back. To me, the sound of this album seems imprinted by Winter and woodland, and carries all the warmth and determination of a soul that has passed through those things time and again.
Of the band’s sound, James Riley of Mondegreen Magazine wrote:
“The music’s most definitive trait is a consistently poetic and delicate artistry, and yet in this, it goes balls-out. Hardcore tenderness… Everything musical is aimed both at creating a simple and beautiful aesthetic -which I believe Philippe achieves splendidly – and equally important, at matching and enhancing the story and emotion of everything lyrical.”
It’s a particularly apt description for a music that is simultaneously introspective and expressive. Perhaps, in a word, we might call this sound “rejuvenating.” There is also the thrill of listening to a band that are clearly beginning to find a firm voice, and those special moments – like in “Warm and Alone” and “Sun Can’t Walk”- when that voice rings out loud and clear.
As I’m sure you’ll agree, after you listen to the album, this is a band that bears watching. So, have a listen, and then visit their bandcamp page to pick up a copy.