REVIEW album The Blue Hour Always

Seattle's The Blue Hour Summons 4AD Ghosts On New 'Always' Album

Always

The Blue Hour

The Blue Hour have inherited the passion and aesthetic of 4AD’s golden years – haunting, deep, and richly melancholic with seamless production. Their swirling soundscapes lends itself brilliantly to the earthy and haunting vocals of Marselle Hodges.

A few weeks ago, The Blue Hour presented their new single 'One More Mystery', giving us a taste of early 4AD-style ethereal folk-noir par excellence with a dance of Siouxsie Sioux thrown in for good measure. The video and original animation was created by Rayhan Khan and produced by Rooster Studio.

This is the first single from their new album 'Always'. This 11-track offering is replete with swoons whirling the listener into the ether, wisped along with sonic elements cherished by fans of Kate Bush, This Mortal Coil, Marissa Nadler, Dead Can Dance, and Chelsea Wolfe. This new release comes on the trail of their 'Kyoto Songs' single, featuring a beautiful rendition of The Cure classic 'Kyoto Song'.

Living near Seattle, Brian and Marselle Hodges have been inspired by their life amongst the moss and mud and the ferns and forests of the Pacific Northwest, their raw mix channeling the purely natural and the esoteric via The Blue Hour.

Blending traditional folk melodies with dream pop, ethereal wave and synthpop, the result is ethereal folk-noir that is unique to them, charged with haunting ambiance and some classical structures. This potent cocktail creates an otherworldly and hypnotic effect, focusing on texture and rhythm and beautiful discord... and most of all magic.

The Blue Hour was born of glamour and squalor. Brian and Marselle met as teenage street kids, sleeping in abandoned buildings and dancing the nights away in Seattle’s new wave clubs. After many lost years, they again reunited and began creating music together. The band has seen several incarnations since founded in 1993 by multi-instrumentalist Brian Hodges. Originally intended to be a side project to psychedelic goth band Black Atmosphere, The Blue Hour released several albums of “romantic ethereal neofolk” between 1998 and 2001 for European independent labels Perun and Big Blue.

Brian Hodges put his music on hiatus until 2016, when he again began writing in order to teach the craft to their daughter. That project became the band's new single "One More Mystery", which saw the addition of Marselle's voice and melodies - creating the gold seam that ran right into their new album 'Always'.

Over the years, Brian and The Blue Hour have played with numerous seminal goth, new wave and neofolk acts, including The Church, Sex Gang Children, Gitane Demone, Unto Ashes, Sol Invictus, and In Gowan Ring.

Co-written and performed by Brian and Marseille, the two also share vocal duties on the 'Always' album. Maria Grig also contributes strings on three tracks: 'One More Mystery', 'Block the Sound' and 'Lost Landmarks'. Written and recorded between December 2016 and June 2017 at the Piksie Nest and Rabbit Hole, this album was mastered by Wade Alin at Standard Mastering.

While not making music Brian Hodges works as a lawyer, researcher, and non-fiction writer. His fiction has been published by New Lit Salon Press, the Bearded Scribe Press, and Liquid Imagination, with his work having received acclaim in niche literary circles.

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