Hymns, Theater Fire

Brother/Sister, the debut effort from New York City's Hymns, was one of the most underrated discs of 2006. Mixing the most stable elements of Wilco, Pavement and Spoon with refreshingly light and easy folk, songs such as "Magazines," "Scenery Glow" and "Power in the Street" are tailor-made for folks who like their alt-country on the comprehensible side. Singer Brian Harding and guitarist Jason Roberts started the band in North Carolina back in 2003, but it took a fortuitous move to the Big Apple to complete the quartet and record (in Celeste, Texas, of all places) their listener-friendly debut—not that there's anything wrong with being easy on the ears. The foursome creates music that is concise and dynamic, engaging songs that never have to strive to be more than they are, never attempting weird for weird's sake. Like a good pair of shoes, the music of Hymns is comfortable without the need to be cool.


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