Try as we might, it’s hard for us to silo the music of Amasa Hines. And perhaps that’s the point. Whether touching on elements of soul or jazz, more straightforward indie rock, or even a little bit of gospel, the brilliant central Arkansas outfit is keen to keeping your on your toes. And with the release of their new record, Ivory Loving Glass, the band does just that.
The album may only contain five songs, but sometimes that’s all you need. Amasa Hines is singer, songwriter and guitarist Joshua Asante, guitarist Judson Spillyards, bassist Ryan Hitt and saxophonist/keyboardist Norman Williamson. Together, the group expertly weaves together their range of influences to deliver an incomparable sound. That work has helped the band produce a brilliant follow-up to the excellent debut release, 2014’s All the World There Is.
Ivory Loving Glass sees the band mature and expand on its sound and features radio-ready tracks in “Zatoichi,” “7,” and “Nimbus,” but the entire record, at least to us, should be listened to in full and appreciated as a complete piece of work. It’s refreshing and unique and sounds like what you might imagine if an indie rock church needed accompaniment.
Whether crossing into Beatles or Beach House territory on “Zatoichi” with groove-like bass lines and trippy, psychedelic keys, or the driving, energetic indie vibe of “7,” Amasa Hines knows exactly what it is doing — exploring and being unafraid to try new things. And growth is a big part of what the band does. It urges its listeners to do the same.
Asante told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that the band explored different styles and textures on this record by adding more keys and synths to their sound. He said the group has “grown to where we understand the dynamics of space and control.” That’s quite evident on Ivory Loving Glass, as it’s a record we keep turning to and hearing something we didn’t on the previous listen.
But don’t expect this to be the last you hear of the band this year, as they’re wrapping up studio work on an additional batch of five songs that are slated for a December release, as well as touring the country.