Shy, Low – Hiraeth [Spartan Records]

After three years, an eponymous debut record, and an EP (Binary Opposition) of sprawling and occasionally post metal leaning instrumentals, Richmond VA based Shy, Low chose a different trajectory for their latest opus and in so doing have produced one of the most emotional and unabashedly beautiful post rock records I have heard in quite a while. The direction as well as the title of the album all began with the song that ended up as the closing track.

Hiraeth: a word without a concrete English translation. While evading an unequivocal definition, it exudes melancholy. Those who have attempted to define it describe the word as a mixture of homesickness, nostalgia, grief, and longing…The first song written for the record was the closing track, “Times Gone By.” It left each member of the band feeling strangely nostalgic, invoking a sense of happiness for past pleasures that was accompanied by an underlying sadness for the inability to relive those experiences. And so it set the tone for the rest of the album.

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