The drowsy nostalgia and summer-days charm of ‘Neighbourhoods’ is another absolute peach from Pete Swanson & Jed Bindeman’s Freedom To Spend, presenting the first ever reissue of Ernest Hood’s sole, outstanding 1975 LP. Hazily framed by a mixture of zither, woozy keyboards and sweetly candid field recordings, ‘Neighbourhoods’ is Ernest Hood’s deeply personal and warmly endearing impression of childhood naivety. Previously a figurehead of the Northwest US jazz scene, a bout of polio restricted his guitar playing, so Ernest turned to a gentler sound focussed on “the formation of comfortable memories”, resulting in a daydream of an album that recalls fondest memories of long summer holidays, nagging parents, and hours absorbed in kids flicks, cartoons and their sugary soundtracks. Sadly that’s maybe not the same experience many kids have nowadays, self-sequestered in bedrooms, congregating on Mmorpg’s, but once upon a time this kind of idyll was real.
Gently coming to life with ‘Saturday Morning Dozing’, the album saunters thru scenes such as ‘At The Store’ documenting kids on a shop stoop deciding what to do with their day and spilling 7up on their peanuts, to the meridian buzz of crickets in ‘August Haze’, and the chufty synth fanfare connoting the buzz of leaving class in ‘After School’, and onto the mischievous frolics of ‘Night Games’, it would take a heart of stone not to melt at the charms of this album. Really, almost anyone will recognise and fall heavily for Ernest Hood’s impressionistic beauty. Warmest recommendations!