In late 2004, Austin, TX act Hundred Year Storm released an independent EP that gained them a lot of underground attention; and for good reason. The self-titled effort contained not only promise, but a whole lot of talent. Almost two years later, they've signed to Floodgate Records and are ready to release their national debut, Hello from the Children of Planet Earth. What we are presented with is a deep, lush, breathtaking hour-plus of musical genius. You haven't heard anything quite like Hundred Year Storm.
It's somewhat reminiscent of what Forever Changed would be if they were a bit less restrained. Bill McCharen's vocals even sound similar. But everything on Hello from the Children of Planet Earth seems large, unexpected, and adventurous. The vocals are commanding and ambient, the guitars are rich and raw, and the drums are unpredictable. It's hard to tell exactly what's coming next. And from start to finish, the album rarely breaks. There are few pauses between tracks. Things may slow down for one or two tracks, and then pick up speed again. "The Golden Record" is a nine minute instrumental that transitions the slower pace of "Where Beauty Never Dies" and the energy of the latter "All This Time."
The record's theme is stated as the only lyrics on the opening track "00:01," "Here's to new beginnings/ Here's to new starts." A child's voice can also be heard about two minutes into the song saying "Remember, it will be for us, the children of the day, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place." It's a nice little touch that tugs at your heartstrings. Hearing such innocence stating such an obvious, but usually forgotten fact makes it so much more powerful.
Floodgate Records has yet to disappoint me. They seem to give the bands they sign a very significant amount of creative control over the finished project, and albums like Hello from the Children of Planet Earth are the proof. Nothing really stands out as a sort of "hit single" (In fact, the songs average at over five minutes long each), but the finished project is nothing short of wonderful to behold. Hundred Year Storm should turn many heads in the coming months and years.- Review date: 7/30/06, written by Josh Taylor
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