Squealer will never complain of being sick again. Philadelphia’s Keith Hampson, the driving force behind Power Animal, spent ten months in and out of hospital and, although too fatigued to play his instruments, he still managed to piece together the songs for his latest EP, Exorcism, which came out on Tuesday.
In spring 2009 Hampson re-worked years of bedroom recordings with the help of his brother and four close friends to make the excellent People Songs, released last year on Waaga Records. Full of strings, synths, bells, horns, samples and two drummers, the sessions produced an album of experimental rock/folk reminiscent of, to name but a few, Efterklang, Do Make Say Think, Anathallo, Broken Social Scene and Akron/Family. The songs of Exorcism, however, represent an enforced departure from this initial format, largely due to being arranged mostly through Hampson’s collection of thrift store cassettes and SP-404 sampler whilst recovering in bed. While still carrying the same percussive energy, imaginative songwriting and touching lyricism that make it recognisable and just as enjoyable as his previous output, the songs are swathed in washes of tweaked or reversed samples and electronic production values that prove Hampson’s talent knows few bounds, be it medium, circumstance or sickness.
Despite being billed as an EP, Exorcism actually carries 11 tracks (six originals, five remixes) and is out now through Crash Symbols and Hampson’s own label/charitable organisation Human Kindness Overflowing. As such it’s available on a “name your price” basis here, but bear in mind that for every $2 paid, $1.50 will provide three meals for those in need through Philabundance and the other 50 cents goes toward future funding of charitable projects through HKO. If we really needed another reason to get involved, that would be it.