[sic] Magazine

Hammock – Love in the Void

Hammock – Love in the Void

Over two decades, ambient dreampop duo, Hammock have risen from cult, ‘in the know’ status to genre-defining titans. Originally lumped in with the burgeoning indietronica scene, Hammock quickly stood out due to the sheer beauty of their guitar sounds. (See ‘The Air Between Us’ from debut album Kenotic) With each subsequent release they have beefed up their production and widened their compositional know how to the point where they have become the benchmark for the ambient, post rock downtempo scene.

In reviewing terms ‘Hammock’ has become an adjective.

Latest album Love in the Void has been robustly promoted with several of its pieces made available prior to release. As such, those already familiar with work like ‘It’s Ok To Be Afraid Of The Universe’, ‘Procession’ and the title track will already have a good insight into the new long player. This is the bands 12th studio album (depending on how/what you count) with no signs of ennui kicking in whatsoever. Quite the contrary in fact as Love in the Void bucks Hammocks recent trend of focusing upon the gentler aspects of their music. We know that the recent album trilogy of Mysterium, Universalis and Silencia soundtracked the band working through some well-documented grief. As exercises in neo-classical ambience these are flawless records. However, by Silencia I couldn’t shake off the feeling of wanting another holistic Hammock album. I wanted songs. During the pandemic Byrd and Thompson curated Elsewhere, separately from each other at their respective homes. Elsewhere is another admirable, minimalistic collection but it meant that the pair hadn’t really revisited their dreampop roots since 2016.

Love in the Void is so titled in reference to humankinds ability to find joy even during the darkest of times. We probably all know to what this alludes and happily there are plenty of joys to be found on the new record. Tracks like ‘Undoing’ and the superb ‘Denial Of Endings’ return the listener to the glistening dreampop template of Everything and Nothing, The Summer Kills and yes, even Departure Songs. ‘Absorbed in light’ is so optimistic sounding that it is practically beaming a smile at me. The pair also explore their post-rock side claiming the new album to be their ‘loudest’. I think that is a bit of a red herring myself. True, there are rumblings on here to rival even Oblivion Hymns, but there are subtleties too. Love in the Void is a far more accomplished album overall.

The fact is that when Hammock bring everything together, their entire value proposition – ‘gazey pop songs, post-rock grandeur, punctuated by signature ambient pieces, that’s when they go to a whole other level. Which is what they’ve done, simply.

Life-affirming and beautiful, Love in the Void is the best all round, Hammock collection since Departure Songs.

Buy the album.




The Summer Kills

Albums of 2018

Albums of 2017

Albums of 2016

Silencia article by Ryan Burleson.