Into a Myth
Chris Weller – Tenor and bass saxophones
Cole DeGenova – Keyboards and piano
Devin Drobka – Drums
David King – Tambourine
Chicago based trio, Hanging Hearts creates intriguing atmospheres with its emotive music on its second release Into a Myth. The eight originals that comprise the album exhibit strong spiritual motifs and are thematically cohesive. The deft mélange of raw saxophone, primal percussion and ethereal soundscapes forms the structure of most of the tracks.
Saxophonist Chris Weller opens “Return of Saturn” with a brief and passionate solo. His roughhewn tone colors the melody that reverberates over his bandmates’ refrains. Drummer Devin Drobka drives the tune with gritty, riotous beats and keyboardist Cole DeGenova cushions the group play in a hypnotic, yet tense, ambience.
DeGenova’s eerie keyboards set the mood on the cinematic and somber “Big Bang Anunnini.” Drobka’s expectant thuds propel the piece that evolves in overlapping refrains. Weller honks and squawks as he floats over the rhythm duo, leading to a dissonant and memorable conclusion.
There are tender and intimate moments as well on this record that remain within the overall conceptual framework. “He Had The Purest Of Intentions,” for instance, features a lyrical and contemplative duet between Weller and DeGenova. The latter showcases his skills on the acoustic piano within the Zen-like serenity of the piece, as Drobka’s drums softly rustle and Weller lets loose circular lines.
What this otherwise engaging record seems to lack is a bit of spontaneity. Despite the organic vibrancy of the music, there are no expansive improvisational flights. For example, the sensual “June Bug” has a funky swagger and an ensemble performance that gains momentum ardently, then gracefully defervesces, only to rise again with fervor. DeGenova and Drobka conclude with a series of crisp, short phrases. Alas, none of the three musicians let themselves stretch out and embellish this captivating composition.
Despite its limitations, Into a Myth is an exciting and poignant work that is a testament to Hanging Hearts’ singular voice. Hopefully, this inventive band will continue to evolve and produce their unique style of music well into the future.