Jack Carty + Gus Gardiner: Hospital Hill

review hospital hill x1 cong

Hospital Hill is Jack Carty and Gus Gardiner, whom we could claim to know all about, if we lied. Never heard of them. Carty won the 2010 acoustic singer-songwriter of the year award at the National Music Oz Awards, while Gardiner was with Australian rock band Papa vs Pretty.

Despite being limited by us never having heard of them, they can clearly play and write a tune. This is a beautiful acoustic/folk album that’s more like a painting than an album; you can sit and admire its glossy varnish, the rich blend of colours from the violin, viola and cello, and the smooth vocals, all without taking on board what the music is like; the sound itself is just very pretty. We were expecting a standard folk album but it’s more like chamber music with vocals thrown in. One review said it had layers of nostalgia, but it doesn’t really evoke any place or time so that’s not strictly true.

So: imagine rich chamber music for a string trio, not quite theatrical but certainly not restrained either; too forceful for background music but not forcing itself in your ears either. The vocals are husky and range from a soothing mid-range to almost-falsetto. It’s earnestly delivered without sounding serious or po-faced.

Out on It’s Dinner Recordings


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