Formed in 2010, Hejira are Sam Beste, Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne, Alexis Nunez and Alex Reeve - a group of Londoners with a diverse collective heritage spanning the entire globe from Chile and Hungary through to Ethiopia and Germany. Prayer Before Birth is their new offering via Accidental records, and is produced by electronic auteur Matthew Herbert.
‘Litmus Test’, the second single taken from the Album is nothing like a litmus test at all, no acidity or alkalinity here. Instead, the opening track covers you in a soft fog that you would normally expect to dim the senses, but instead washes over you and awakens your brain. Subtle nudges of choral winds and waves of guitar/bass/drum swells come crashing down, and then fade into the words “Nothing more and nothing less”, of which this album is nothing more or nothing less than amazing.
Listen carefully to ‘Fields of Rooftops’ and you can just about hear the London overground go by under this pulsing piano/string led ode to the English Capital, with dual vocals floating in the sky above. ‘Powercuts’, the most sinister track on the album, has horns and drums combining with powerful effect along with (not too) distorted bass– and just as it’s reaching a crescendo, it comes to an abrupt end without warning.
Finishing off the album is just-over 2 minute track ‘Reprise’, which could easily be the start of a post-rock opus, if it wasn’t as short as it is. Instead, it’s left to guitar and vocals to send us off, with the singers promising “One day, I will return to you”. Please do, by all means.
These are just a few selections. Each track has it’s own distinct individuality, yet they blend together effortlessly. There is much more to keep the senses going throughout this 11 track orchestral art-rock beauty, and at 56 minutes long, it passes by as if it was only half that. This is by no way a bad thing, and it’s an absolute joy to listen to from start to finish without skipping a single track. It’s a present to treat your ears with, without a doubt.