"In the garden as a kid you're praised for / Sharing all the tools you need to play / Then someone locks the tools away."
Move over Donovan Woods, we have a new favourite in town! I decided to give Hillsburn a try this week, and boy oh boy was this the right choice. Hillsburn is a indie rock band that formed in a small town called Hillsburn, Nova Scotia, but they now call Halifax home. In The Battle Years is the debut full-length album from this band that was released in 2016.
On my first listen I thought that this album would be something I would enjoy beyond this music project. With each subsequent listen my passion for this band grew more and more. Often when I find a song/band I enjoy I may obsess about them for a little while. My wife can attest that it is not out of the ordinary for me to listen to a song 10-15 times in a row cause I like it so much. It terms of total album listens, I probably listened to the full thing about 20 times. No joke. It was on constantly whenever I had an opportunity for the entire week.
I can't think of a band - outside of maybe The Once - that I have enjoyed their harmonies as much as I have for this album. Songs such as "Further in the Fire" have stuck with me and I often find myself humming it all the time now. When reflecting on this album, I find it hard to find a blemish or down point. If I had to nitpick I would say I did not particularly enjoy "Hey Now". However, I think this was influenced by how much I enjoyed every other song. My favourite song on the album was "Caught in the Rain" merely for the catchy chorus with a wonderful horn section. But if you asked me next week I am sure that my favourite song would change and I could totally justify it. And that cycle of favourite song changing could likely go on until May. That's how good this album is in my mind.
I truly believe the versatility of this band was in full display on this album. While I would classify the band as indie rock I feel they excelled at drawing upon many different genres when making the music for this album. "Ava" is a prime example of a non-indie-rock song that they absolutely nailed.
I was feeling a little dragged out with this project, but this album has put a little more fuel in the fire. Out of all the albums I have completed thus far, this is only the third band that I think would enter my regular music rotation. While I know many of the albums I will review won't fall into that category, I look forward to gems like Hillsburn along the way.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Next Week: Leonard Cohen
"If I went back, would I see that? / Or have I just sugar-coated some synapse? / Are some memories just remedies / To pretty-up times when we were unsteady? "