Following the rich tapestry of tales contained within last year’s The Holy Strangers, Texas’ Micah P. Hinson returns with yet another beautiful collection of lo-fi delights. Finding inspiration from a statue of St. James inside the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, (one that finds the saint surrounded by 24 unnamed musicians), this latest album was recorded within a single 24-hour spell by Hinson and a group of similarly anonymous musicians. While it doesn’t quite scale the heights of his previous offerings, there is still much to enjoy.
There is a sense of being sequestered in the recording studio for opener ‘I Am Looking For The Truth, Not A Knife In The Back’, the sounds of bird song and creaking floorboards ushering in a slow and steady, almost mournful beginning. Hinson, his voice drenched in sorrow and tiredness, sounds like he has reached the end of the road. However, followers of Hinson will know that for every seeming defeat, a victory looms on the horizon. ‘The Sleep Of The Damned’ immediately picks the pace up, its sun-drenched guitars burying his vocals under a thick layer of fuzz.
When I Shoot At You With Arrows is a slow burn. The sombre cowboy strum of ‘Fuck Your Wisdom’ makes way for the gorgeous melodies of the title track. Simple in its execution, it slowly transforms itself with a soaring warmth. ‘Small Spaces’, from nowhere, raises both the pulse and noise levels exponentially before the beautiful ‘My Blood Will Call Out To You From The Ground’ drops them both back to that of gentle bliss.
Closing with the epic, dreamy shoegaze-esque ‘The Skulls of Christ’, those anonymous musicians come to the fore once more with a superb flourish. Aptly for an album that deals largely with matters of the spirit and the heavens, the sounds of a church choir ring out over the final minutes. A peculiar record, one that in many ways encapsulates the essence of much of Hinson’s career into one collection with elements of beauty, ugliness, joy and sadness all rolled into one. All of humanity under one church.