When Gabriel Stern and Peter Mark Kendall, the duo behind Hickory, sit down to craft a new album, their aim is simple yet ambitious - to create complex, avant-garde music that captures raw human emotions. Their latest album "Batten Down the Hatches" does exactly that, taking listeners on a compelling sonic journey through layered soundscapes and dramatic storytelling.
The album begins with "Adrift", instantly drawing you into its world with electronic beats that build in momentum, transporting the listener into an action film in full swing. Awesome guitars soon emerge, intertwining with unforgettable synths that give the song a cinematic quality.
"Sliding Back" is a dark yet richly textured track featuring beautiful keys and electronic beats that groove at a deliberate pace. The melodic "All the Time" stands out for its exquisite strings paired against elaborate beats that somehow mesh seamlessly. The gorgeous vocals, dripping with emotion, capture many feelings.
Drama rises with "Minuet For Tomorrow", built around haunting vocals and rich keys that evoke raw emotion. Guest vocalist Sianna Palvin grants a graceful element to "A Man" with symphonic instrumentation that surrounds and uplifts the listener. Palvin's ethereal vocals bring comfort and solace. An ominous tone permeates "Upped My Dose Of Seroquel" thanks to background beeps reminiscent of hospital machines. Jangly guitars clash against dystopian keys, mirroring the frantic internal state of the lyrics. The album takes a deeper electronic turn with "Hold Me Down", layering digitized vocals that create an intense, pounding rhythm. The heavy beats become a pulsing heart, refusing to fade.
Hip-hop influences shine on "On the Low" through hard-hitting yet restrained beats that make you move. "Monday Before Dinner" stands out for its perfect blend of strings, vocals, and bassline, each element balancing the others.
Lush keys highlight "Alone", rising above and beyond the vocals to provide ease. The lifted yet grounded ambiance shines through bright synths with a dark edge. The album closes with "So It Goes", continuing its balanced yet dynamic blend of sounds and emotions. The keys lift the spirits one last time before the story ends, leaving listeners moved and a little bit wiser.
"Batten Down the Hatches" is a stunning album that blends intricate musical layers with raw emotion to create an unforgettable sonic journey. Be sure to stream "Batten Down the Hatches" on Spotify and follow Hickory on social media to keep up with their groundbreaking new releases.