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1 review »For some reason I thought Russell Hoke was an unlistenable outsider, like Jad Fair or someone. Phil put me right, “he’s perfectly listenable” he said “even you will be able to tolerate it”. And yes he’s right, funny how you get things hopelessly wrong isn’t it? First up the sleeve is lovely with presumably hand written notes and credits on the back. Nice ... »

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Haunted Brain by Russell Hoke
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5 people love this record. Be the 6th!
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 11 June 2014

For some reason I thought Russell Hoke was an unlistenable outsider, like Jad Fair or someone. Phil put me right, “he’s perfectly listenable” he said “even you will be able to tolerate it”.

And yes he’s right, funny how you get things hopelessly wrong isn’t it? First up the sleeve is lovely with presumably hand written notes and credits on the back. Nice handwriting. Opener ‘Eldon Patch’ is a little sea shanty with some slightly unhinged vocals, “Let Us Trust” retains the jaunty strums but is a much more callow, melancholy piece. This is lovely, I’m reminded a bit of the Fence stuff and a bit of the lo-fi stuff that came out on Shrimper in the 90’s.

‘Brown Haired Smile’ is a lovely folky thing. You know the kind of autumn mist you think of when you listen to a Bert Jansch record? Well it has that in spades. Right, I’m going to drop the big one. Are you ready? The lo-fi strums kind of remind me of Crabstick. And I don’t drop the Crabstick reference lightly you know - I’m very sparing with it. This is more folky though, a banjo is brandished increasingly as the album wears on giving it a back porch lo-fi country feel at times like some dug up Harry Smith Anthology rarities. There’s a couple of hokey (ha!) tracks that sound a little like early Daniel Johnston sprinkled here and there but more often or not its lovely lo-fi rural pluckings, wordy and literate.

A very sweet record all told.  NOTE: This is a re-issue of an earlier pressing with a different sleeve.   


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