Micah P. Hinson and the Musicians of the Apocalypse – When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You
Micah P. Hinson doesn't eclipse past triumphs, but there is still much to be found within this bold offering, recorded live in the forests of Texas within 24 hours
Apocalypse is the concern of the latest full-length release from Micah P. Hinson, a man who is no stranger to the concept. Those who have followed the enigmatic Texan from the release of his acclaimed 2004 debut Micah P. Hinson and the Gospel of Progress will be aware of the towering obstacles that have often threatened his prolific nature, from a long struggle with back pain to the road accident that left him unable to play guitar until he regained control of his arms through physiotherapy.
They will also be aware that his definition of progress may diverge from their own. In a 2010 interview, Laura Snapes drew attention to the uncommon occurance of a “young, outspokenly conservative” songwriter finding a “predominantly liberal” audience, at least on these shores – where he was recently joined onstage by James Graham of The Twilight Sad before heading to Leith the following day to record with Song, by Toad. Hinson is a divisive and compelling figure, seemingly drawn from American mythology yet somehow walking, smoking and singing amongst us in 2018. 'Why should I care if I don’t belong?' he sings on Fuck Your Wisdom.
When I Shoot At You with Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You was "recorded live in the forests of Texas with 24 musicians in 24 hours." Hinson’s able comrades in this endeavour have considerately opted to remain nameless, in keeping with their designated role as The Musicians of the Apocalypse. Hinson explains: "There is a cathedral in the town of Santiago de Compostela… said to be the final resting place of St. James," who can be found there immortalised in statue with 24 musicians who have waited patiently for over 800 years – "ancient instruments in hand" – for him to raise his hands and conduct them. These musicians, with St. James (or in this scenario, Hinson) at the helm, "will bring Hell and Heaven to Earth." This concept would be utterly ludicrous in the hands of almost any other contemporary musician, but Hinson meets the gravity of it with ease thanks to the tenderness, weariness, spite and fury that colour his trademark baritone of cavernous depth and unflinching conviction.
Small Spaces finds Hinson and company channelling the cool drawl and ferocious claustrophobia of early Interpol, while My Blood Will Call Out To You From the Ground is a gentle return to familiar ground as he sings of wishing wells and true love. Later, in The Skulls of Christ, abrasive, soaring guitars herald the end times, or at the very least, a signature change. While as a whole this isn't his most consistent or arresting work to date – the shadow of last year’s incredibly accomplished The Holy Strangers hanging heavy above – Hinson is still a unique force, shining as brightly and boldly as ever on the hypnotic, sprawling title track.
Listen to: When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You, The Skulls of Christ