• Gabriel & The Hounds: Album Review

    By J. Brown

    Brooklyn-based artist Gabriel & The Hounds has joined the blossoming record label Communion, which is releasing this artist’s debut record in the UK at the end of February (released by Ernest Jennings Record Co. in US). Entitled Kiss Full of Teeth, musician and songwriter Gabriel Levine is the man behind the moniker “Gabriel & The Hounds,” and while Levine wrote all the songs on the album, it isn’t quite a solo effort, as he is joined by a variety of artists in an effort that is a perfect mix of solitary and communal. Among those who came together to record this album include performers who are in or have recorded with The National, Beirut, St Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, tUnE-yArDs, Bjork, and Jonsi (proving it pays to have friends in high places).

    Levine decided to go by the name Gabriel & The Hounds in part because he was inspired by Kate Bush‘s Hounds of Love. He is currently a vocalist for the Brooklyn band Takka Takka, but Levine found that he was compelled to write songs that went in a new direction, and hence the solo project was born. There is a quiet intimacy to this album that makes it feel entirely confessional as it circles around themes of disappointment, innocence, and becoming an adult. This sense of hushed warmth is perfectly captured in the way it was recorded, with a lo-fi field recorder in settings like garages and living rooms.

    This album is at its best when it meets the challenge of incorporating intricate and orchestral arrangements that include strings, layered vocals, trains, birds, breath, reverb, and drum parts. Not every song reaches its potential, but there are enough standout tracks to leave the listener sated and curious where Levine will go next, not only on the album but also as his career progresses. “Kiss Full of Teeth” never conforms to any easy expectations; it almost defends its uniqueness by deftly changing styles and sounds from track to track with an expansive palette that ranges from sweeping orchestras to ghostly vocals.

    The co-founder of Communion, Kev Jones, commented the following about Levine’s music: “We absolutely love this record. The musical pedigree displayed on the album, Gabe’s understated vocals, the songwriting, and the almost Hitchcock-esque orchestral arrangements make for an incredibly rich experience.”

    Kiss Full Of Teeth tracklisting:
    A Beginning
    What Good Would That Do?
    Wire And Stone
    Lovely Thief
    The World Unfolds
    When We Die In South Africa
    Talk Of The Town
    Photos Of The End
    An In-Between
    Who Will Fall On Knees
    An Ending

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