Around The Margins
Doug Hoekstra writes pretty, ethereal, folky story-songs in the long-standing tradition of artists like Nick Drake, The Smiths (at their most subdued), and Belle And Sebastian. The fifteen tracks on Around The Margins make for a dreamy atmosphere that serves his songs well, accenting Hoekstra’s breathy, deep vocals and making his stories the focal point. And while the whole record has that “early misty morning” atmosphere, Hoekstra manages to change things up a lot within that framework — witness the country twang and male/female vocals of “Desdemona,” or the dirgish “Birmingham Jail,” for just two examples. A cover of Bob Dylan’s “Isis” fits right in. It’s good rainy day music — quiet, reflective, and beautiful, with the odd ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds.
Inbetweens Records, PO Box 411141, San Francisco, CA 94141-1141; http://www.doughoekstra.com