Plenty of bands can make strong cases to being crowned the most criminally underrated group in music, but they would be hard-pressed to beat Amasa Hines‘ case. The Little Rock, Arkansas outfit have been redefining emotionally-charged and -powerful music since their formation at the turn of the decade. Their unique sound and approach have caught the attention of festival planners and attendees and stations like NPR. Yet, Joshua Asante, Josh Spillyards, Judson Spillyards, Ryan Hitt, Norman Williamson still hover under the radar. Their outstanding EP, Ivory Living Glass, likewise barely registered a blip on music radars, but it is unquestionably one of the best indie-rock efforts of 2018.

Ivory Living Glass is an emotional tour-de-force of soulful art-rock. It astounds and amazes immediately with the searing melancholy of “Zaitoichi”. The track is simultaneously breathtaking and cathartic. It reaches another level when Asante repeats the refrain, “I held your hand through the darkest hour”. The emotional train wreck continues on the stunning “Life in the Wake of Eternal Noir”, which grows into a bone-shaking, My Morning Jacket-like crescendo.

Amasa Hines amp up the urgency – and the horns – on the stark, politically-charged soul-rocker “7”, which addresses America’s history of violence. On “Nimbus”, the band take listeners not just to the skies but also to church. The track is a soaring, chilling number with Asante asking us to “worship with me, let time be the sacrifice”. The answer is an easy one – of course we will. Because even through the piano-laced notes of “Someone Like Me”, Amasa Hines move us in ways like no other record. They trigger our deepest memories and emotions, but they make us feel we are not alone. Instead, we “hold each other tenderly” through every note they sing and perform. We hold firmly to this incredible experience.

Ivory Looking Glass EP is available here on vinyl and digitally from iTunes.

For the complete list of our Favorite 20 EPs of 2018, click here.

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