Artist: Hymns Title: Brother / Sister Label: Blackland Records Released: October 10, 2006 Hymns is a Sunday morning church name, and the group’s Brother/Sister CD is illustrated like an old Baptist hymnal. But the music Hymns creates is not nearly so liturgical. Instead, this New York City-based outfit is a rock band infused with touches of Americana. Brian Harding has one of those nasal, Doug Sahm-y voices that give many of his vocals a country-rock vibe. The pedal steel guitar that comes and goes here and there only adds to such an effect. It must be the group’s big city base that keeps it from becoming too down home. “Power in the Street” for instance, sounds a lot like its city neighbors, The Strokes. Other side roads include “First Time” which is a la Byrds jangly, as well as the closer “Town” which incorporates piano, horns, and touches that are more than a little psychedelic. It can be tough going figuring out what Hymns are trying to say through the stanzas of its songs. The track “Brother/Sister” may well be about familial relationships, whereas a line in “Starboat” about teenage symphonies might allude to The Beach Boys and the music business in general. These songs won’t ever replace the old numbers the choir sings, nor will they compete with the rock & roll worship music so popular these days. But if you’re one that stays away from steeples and such on Sunday mornings, it offers a quiet and gentle way to face the Sabbath. - Dan MacIntosh, Amplifier Magazine