Harsh chords, complex rhythms, strange orchestration and awkward melody interchangeably weave throughout the songs of Hermit Thrushes. With their sophomore album "Slight Fountain", this Philadelphia-based five-piece displays touchingly naive bedroom lo-fi juxtaposed with disjointed arrangements, noisy multi-instrumental blasts, and nasty pitch-shifts - offering a thoroughly artful blend of indie rock. This is what the Magic Band would have sounded like if they were raised on Joan of Arc and Polvo, and had a singer that was void of any serious mental illness (though probably not the less serious kind).
But let's start at the beginning: In the Fall of 2006, principle songwriter Yianni Kourmadas embarked upon an extended trip to his native Greece. Far removed from family and friends, he wrote and recorded a handful of songs on a guitar he trash-picked in Athens and collected hours of field recordings. The songs and sounds he captured reflected happiness, curiosity and loneliness. When he returned to his home in Philadelphia, a small group of friends assembled to perform and record these songs. The band that emerged was Hermit Thrushes. As a result, the rhythms, melodies and structures of pre-American sounds (Greek folk, Byzantine chant, Andean music, Turkish folk, etc) have influenced the music of Hermit Thrushes more than any single band or musical trend.
The band released their debut, "Benaki" on Single Girl Married Girl in June of 2008, followed by a 7" record, a cassette tape, four national tours, and a notorious CMJ Marathon appearance (involving a band member, sans pants, badgering a Village Voice reporter). "Slight Fountain", the second album and first for Joyful Noise, streamlines the band's chaotic sound into a cohesive batch of songs - successfully balancing the contradictory elements. Throughout the album, Hermit Thrushes seemingly can't decide if they want to write touching acoustic-pop, or if they are bigger fans of Purple on Time era US Maple. But it is their ability to exist between these two extremes which makes their noisy experimentations relevant, and their songcraft firmly planted in the next level.