By Antonio Tzikas
Created in the bands studio in Greenwich, Creatures of An Hour is the brainchild of London-based American musician and leader of Still Corners Greg Hughes, who takes his influence from cinematic scores to create emotive and atmospheric songs laced with drifting guitars, solemn organ lines and reverb laden whispered vocals that give the band a unique and intense sound.
The tone of the album is quite dark and intimate, the sparse instrumentation and use of echoes make for a ghostly soundscape, the lingering remains of once vibrant and upbeat songs, the sound of a summer quickly slipping away into the darkness and chill of the winter months.
The emotive nature of classic film scores really does come across in the music of Still Corners. The gentle pace of each song allows the listener to become fully involved in the moment, and the intimate and sincere nature of the vocals gives the feeling of a personal performance. There are obvious Spector and Meek influences peppered all over the audibly lo-fi production of Creatures of an Hour, the deep, orchestral drum rolls on comparatively upbeat, indie poppy number ‘Into The Trees’ being an obvious one and the ghostly ’60s girl group aesthetic of ‘The White Season’ being another. Comparisons can be drawn with Crystal Stilts debut Alight of Night which incorporates the same cavernous and eerie sound in a similar way, albeit with a noisier, garage/surf style edge.
Whilst shades of shoegaze and indie pop can be heard on the first side of the record, the second becomes a tad more serious. Comprised of five tracks that take the cinematic influence on fully, the end of the record is where the modus operandi of Still Corners shines through the haze of swelling reverb and Wurlitzer drone. Album highlight ‘The Twilight Hour’ is a triumph of vision over limited recording facilities, great swathes of breathy vocals twirl around endlessly, pinned down by the minimal rhythm section, and blend seamlessly into the next track ‘Velveteen’, which drips with the all the eerie cold of an abandoned funfair and features an almost Bondesque arrangement through the verse sections. Final track ‘Submarine’ closes the album on a high, a driving motorik rhythm supplied by the bass and drums propels the track forwards as phantasmic vocal ‘oohs’ whizz past in all directions, and then it’s over, lights up and time to file out.
Cinematic it is, more 10″ cigarette holder than 10″ box of popcorn though; the incorporation of visions of classic hollywood Noir and French cinema of the ’60s into slices of great pop music has been carried out tastefully and with great skill to create a brilliant album. Inspiring and harrowing in equal measures, Still Corners have captured cimena-worthy moments using sound alone and have done it beautifully.