The Henrys Quiet Industry
Published Jun 05, 2015The title of this new album is fitting. Quietly, diligently, and more slowly (six albums over 21 years) than his fans would like, songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Don Rooke and the elite players and singers who have been in his group the Henrys over the years have compiled a high-quality discography that has brought them a loyal audience here and abroad.
Their first album since 2009's Is This Tomorrow, Quiet Industry is a fine addition to that. It differentiates itself from such earlier records as Joyous Porous and Chasing Grace by strongly focusing on the vocals of Gregory Hoskins, himself an acclaimed songsmith (previous albums either stressed instrumentals or, in some cases, the idiosyncratic vocals of Mary Margaret O'Hara). Rooke has written lyrics for 11 of the 14 songs here, and Hoskins' understated but persuasive vocals prove an effective messenger. It doesn't exactly hurt the cause that Rooke enlists A-listers John Sheard (he produced some early Henrys records), Andrew Downing, Hugh Marsh (a longtime collaborator), Jonathan Goldsmith, Davide DiRenzo and Tara Dunphy (The Rizdales) to flesh out his songs.
He prefers unconventional groupings and instruments, including pump organ, lap steel, baritone ukulele, and his signature kona guitar, and the subtle results invariably produce a gentle aural warmth. There is a refreshing spring in the step of "Was Is," with swirling organ sounds, but the prevailing mood is languid. This is another lovely piece of work from a band known for it. (Independent)