The Hanging Stars: Hollow Heart (2022)

Yeah, I've been chatting up some great new releases lately (Superchunk's Wild Loneliness, Ex-Vöid's Bigger Than Before). And I'll get back to some great lost classics soon enough, but one of my absolute favorite bands of recent years just let loose with their 4th LP, and I've gotta share it while it's on constant rotation here at home.

I've talked about the London-based Hanging Stars here before, and the new one doesn't stray far from past work: Gorgeous, laid-back cosmic American music drawing from Gram Parsons and the Byrds and the whole Laurel Canyon scene, sharing a SoCal sunshine-drenched country-rock vibe with the likes of Beachwood Sparks and Cosmic Rough Riders. Jangly acoustic guitars and twangy pedal steel and languid vocals joined by the occasional soaring harmony. 

This one sticks closer to the mellow side, enchanting beauty throughout, only intermittently breaking loose into more rocking moments. Indeed, opener "Ava" takes a few minutes of meandering before the proper song even kicks in, the band going for mood over immediacy; "Radio On" grooves slowly, shades of Luna or Teenage Fanclub; "Ballad of Whatever May Be" is a mid-tempo psych-tinged track, reminding me of another band I love, The Amazing, abetted by harmonic la-la-las; and "Hollow Eyes, Hollow Heart" is simply beautiful, some reminders of pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd, soft and swoony and then cutting loose with some frantic guitar riffs. They rock hardest (relatively speaking) on "I Don't Want To Feel So Bad Anymore," a fantastic 60s throwback with Byrdsy Rickenbackers and catchy hooks; "Black Light Night" adds some Tom Petty-styled rock to the mix as well, while "Rainbows In Windows" blends some odd baritone narration with the gentle finger-picking & twang (and a hook reminiscent of the Carole King/Byrds classic "Wasn't Born To Follow").

So, yeah, I'm prattling on, but it's so great. For some reason, only a few tracks are available on their Bandcamp page, but you can buy the CD/LP from various online shops.

 Here's the video for "Black Light Night":

...and "Radio On":
...and an audio rip of "I Don't Want To Feel So Bad Anymore":


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