#60

September 16, 2010

Sunburned Hand of the ManJaybird
psychedelic-rock, free-folk, jam band
2001

Jaybird, the debut by prolific free-folk collective Sunburned Hand of the Man, is an exceptional work. The group have found some very rich middle-ground between psychedelic-rock, folk, improv, drone and funk, which sees them float their way through half a dozen lengthy tracks of drowsy astro-folk. Each of the album’s pieces sounds fundamentally similar, yet Sunburned Hand of the Man - Jaybirdthey all establish their own distinct balance between the building blocks of ethereal vocal hollers, jangling tambourines, multi-layered guitar (acoustic and electric, including some lovely touches of slide), flanged sound effects, whistling pipes, “faux-loose” percussion and solid basslines, with tiny, subtle differences from track to track (or sometimes within sections of a single track). While the druggy opener “Featherweight” is one of the album’s slower, sleepier affairs, followup “The Jaybird” tightens the basslines way up and adds a very slight funky edge to push the song into groovier territory, and so it continues throughout the album, alternating between consistently shallow peaks and troughs. I’d rate this one very highly within the psych/free-folk canon.

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