A Hawk and a Hacksaw Darkness at Noon

Travelling between continents and soaking up the talents of various musicians from England, Prague and New Mexico, Jeremy Barnes’s A Hawk and A Hacksaw weaves an interesting spell of folk, klezmer and tex-mex. Opener "Laughter in the Dark” sets the tone with the first half adapted from a traditional folk melody from Transylvania, but delivered by a south western-flavoured trumpet. From there it descends into a morass of sound involving organs, accordions and chanting, sounding unlike anything else. Things take a lighter and magical turn in "For Slavoj,” which is a quasi-tribute to the notoriously incomprehensible Czech philosopher. With a flute leading the way, piano and even more chanting make this a soundtrack to some fairy tale that ensnares the ears. Barnes’s vision sure is an original one, as by delivering Eastern European melodies mixed with a lust for cross-genre experimentation, he just may just want to be the Dvorak of the indie set. While the more straightforward songs, like "Pastelka on the Train,” make one want to reach for the Wodka, look to the opener for the most heady and interesting experiments in this fabulously original set of songs. (Leaf)