Connect with us

Album Review

Hammock – “Love in the Void” / “Sleepytime is over” [Album & Mini-Doc Review]

If an album is needed to help us reflect on just what is happening, then Hammock’s ‘Love in the Void’ provides that perfectly.



Artwork for the album “Love in the Void” by Hammock

Hammock’s new album Love in the Void and its companion mini-doc Sleepytime is Over are unleashed this month. Del Pike spends an afternoon soaking up the meditative vibes that they bring.

There’s a dreaminess to the new Hammock album that I’ve not heard since Mogwai’s epic 2020 As the Love Continues, and this is a massive compliment, believe me. Comparisons here are impossible to avoid, but where the Mogwai album’s ephemeral tone was a product of lockdown, this is certainly not the case with this release.

Brian Siskind’s accompanying mini-documentary Sleepytime is Over, paints a very clear picture that this is an album that celebrates the ability to finally be in a room with other humans again.

Ten years on with eleven albums under their belts, the music of Nashville’s Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson has always had this sublimely cinematic yet meditative sound, but Love in the Void is their self-confessed loudest album yet. That said, this is no Extreme Noise Terror, it still maintains a tone that induces immediate calm and emotion.

In the doc, Thompson admits that previous outings may well have undoubtedly brought on sleep, but he exclaims “Let’s put an end to that” and justifies this by explaining that this is “… a more band-orientated record, more than anything we’ve ever done.” He’s not wrong, but despite the post-covid shindig in the studio, there’s no guarantee that the album will be a complete slumber breaker.

Most tracks start quiet and build up to a beautiful crescendo, not unlike the later Talk Talk albums or Mark Hollis’ classic solo album. The guitar “build ups” that Thompson describes are the sound of “Humans doing it together.” The “bombast” that he frequently refers to adds context to the doc title—Sleepytime is over.

The documentary is a tone piece constructed of floating images of the band in the studio, overlayed with samples from the album and soundbites from the band, and is worth checking out via YouTube.

As for the album itself, I have to admit, this is my introduction to the band and is an excellent starting point, I will enjoy reaching back across their previous releases.  In the documentary, Marc Byrd describes the album as “Organised soundwaves that hit hard in a way that makes your chest hurt hitting you in the throat… with no words.” Accurate!

Despite very limited vocals, the band’s desire to create an album that will accompany the listener through life-changing events such as birth, death and loss is met.

Magic in Music is almost like you companioning People” – Marc Byrd

Having recently experienced varying forms of loss and negative emotions myself, I did find the album a little overwhelming at times, particularly the highly emotive “I would stare into the sun with you forever” and “Will we ever be Ourselves again.” The moving “Denial of Endings” could easily fit into the final song cycle of The Cure’s Disintegration album. It is a very moving record, but not depressing, there is also hope and light within these grooves. It is an album that sits comfortably in 2023, as Byrd states, “It’s kind of astounding what we’re living through now, just in this moment.”

If an album is needed to help us reflect on just what is happening, then Love in the Void provides that perfectly.

Hammock, photo by Eric Ryan Anderson

Hammock, photo by Eric Ryan Anderson

Love in the Void Track Listing:

1. Procession 02:43
2. Love in the Void 05:03
3. UnTruth 03:50
4. It’s OK to Be Afraid of the Universe 09:48
5. Release 03:29
6. Gods Becoming Memories 05:43
7. It’s in This Lie 04:52
8. I Would Stare into the Sun with You Forever 06:32
9. Undoing 04:53
10. Absorbed in Light 04:28
11. Will We Ever Be Ourselves Again 05:56
12. Denial of Endings 07:26
13. The End Is the Beginning 07:30

Run Time:
Release Date: January 27, 2023
Record Label: Self-Release

Del Pike is a University lecturer in Film and Media in Liverpool (UK). He writes film, music, art, literature and culture articles and reviews for a number of websites. Del loves nothing more than snuggling down in a dark cinema, getting sweaty at  a live gig or drifting off late at night to a good book. He loves cats. He enjoys promoting new talent online so please say hi if you have something to show.