The Hudson Branch: “Periodic Table of Elegance”
Even in a world filled with instant digital communication, never discount the power of word of mouth. A co-worker here at the station had just returned from a conference in Chicago, and raved about a band she saw perform. They musically interpreted a radio story, live on stage, as it was happening. Naturally, a band like that bears investigating. Lo and behold, her fervent praise was completely deserved. Chicago’s The Hudson Branch makes music that’s complicated, yet simple, brainy, but not nerdy. It’s the perfect combination of left and right brain. It’s beautiful music, and if you need your own personal musical score, you could do far worse.
The Hudson Branch’s resume is pretty full. Fans of public radio (and if you’re here, right now, reading this, you probably are), might already be aware of The Hudson Branch. They composed music for (and really became a part of) a story for the very cool show Radiolab. The band’s toured nationally, and played with artists like Matt Pond PA and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. They recently put out a very gutsy, soulful cover of Wilco’s “Sky Blue Sky.”
The band released their latest record World Kid this past April. It was a hard choice to pick just one tune from the album, but with its stately, if off-kilter title, it had to be “Periodic Table of Elegance.” The song moves like quicksilver. When you think it’s going to go one way, it goes another. The dancing, math-like electric guitars enter in the beginning, but yield to a more contemplative, sound with gentle acoustic strumming, and a laid-back (but powerful) rhythm. The interplay between the two sounds, the prog-y and the almost pastoral, is what makes it so interesting. It’s the cerebral and the heartfelt. It’s left and right brain. It’s what The Hudson Branch are all about.