June 24, 2024

Hollow Hand – ‘Your Own Adventure’ – “lovely sixties-influenced psych-pop”

CURATION RECORDS  3rd March 2023

Rather lovely sixties-influenced psych-pop from a Brighton-based songwriter, Max Kinghorn-Mills. Full of tuneful meanderings and gentle rhythms, there are regular tips of the hat to classic sixties pop. From intertwining male vocals to Beatle-y melodies to Roger McGuinn figures, there is a smile of recognition to be had alongside one of pleasure at the craft.

This seems to have been largely built by Max, bolstered with a few guests and a shiny production. There is vocal harmony work, both male and female, lyric guitar, tumbling chiming chords. ‘Before Tomorrow’ has a great ‘wasp in a jar’ guitar tone, ‘Heaven Just Watched’ sounds like backwards guitar (shades of ‘Taxman’), ‘One Last Summer’ has a little Dave Davies (The Kinks) figure, while ‘Childhood Room’ begins with Byrds-tinged guitar. That song also has nice grooving low bass guitar, an unobtrusive feature elsewhere, making for a warm, rich feel. The whole has a clever fusion of quietly nostalgic Americana and the sweetest moments of the psychedelic sixties rock innovators. As I listen to the “ooooo, a la la la”s of the closing ‘Blue Eyed Babies’ I am thinking of other loving evocations of the era in The Rutles and The Travelling Wilburys.

Lyrics are nicely thoughtful, witty and introspective but, for me, form a set of catchy words or phrases to illustrate the feel of the music. Sound is the key here and the production lets us hear all the elements, Max having worked, as only a solo performer can, to insert exactly the fills he wants, exactly where he wants – delighting with small frills and decorations but also maintaining a through-way of melody. With two previous albums bookending Max’s ideal sound, this record takes the middle way, which Gautama Buddha tells us is the road to contentment and here is the road to a gently satisfying, (rubber) soul-smoothing collection of songs.

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