Album Review :
Hand Drawn Mountains - Old Fires

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Band: Hand Drawn Mountains
Title: Old Fires
Label: N/A
Release Date: 2009
Review By: Scott L


01. This Earth A Choir
02. Every Man The Same
03. Six Feet Under Me Under The Willow Tree
04. Oil And Water
05. Family Tree
06. Happiness

Hand Drawn Mountains is a 6-piece out of Pennsylvania that plays indie rock with a heavy dose of country. Sounding at times like a poor man’s REM, at other times like All Get Out, and at still other times almost indefinable… like on “The Earth A Choir” when half way through the song what sounds like the brass section of a high school marching band spontaneously erupts. Tough to label indeed. I’m not sure that I’d go as far as to call Hand Drawn Mountains Americana. And I probably wouldn’t label them as alt-country either. But if you could somehow meld those two styles together… it would be somewhere in the ballpark.

Hand Drawn Mountains consists of 4 guys and 2 gals. Their 6-song EP “Old Fires” shows great potential and has some very enjoyable moments. The instrumentation is all pretty good. Aside from the standard guitar, bass, and drums… you’ll find a tambourine, harmonica, and what I’ll assume is a xylophone of some sort. Most everything fits in well in the context of the style. As a whole though, some of the songs come off a little bit jumbled in places. However, I would blame that more on a somewhat muddy mix rather than the bands song-crafting ability.

Lyrically, “Old Fires” contains some heartfelt songs with obviously spiritual messages. The only downside here was that some of the songs tended to get a bit repetitive and the delivery got a little rough around the edges. You can tell what they’re shooting for, but sometimes they come up short. Again, I think that a better mix would smooth a lot of this out.

Standout track was “Family Tree”. Just an all around good song. I particularly dug the vocals that closed it out.

Overall: Hand Drawn Mountains is a band to watch. Particularly if you’re into indie rock with some twang. This CD isn’t lousy by any means, but a boost in production could really level things out. Still, it’s definitely worth a listen as is. I look forward to seeing more from them. And, hey, do them a favor and go vote for them to play Cornerstone.