Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eric Hutchinson Sounds Like This 2008

Eric Hutchinson is a new artist that can write one hook-heavy, catchy pop-rock song. If you're a sucker for that kind of thing, and I certainly count myself in that category, this guy's for real. He's got a nice voice with a slightly nasal, slightly treble-y edge, and he's obviously worshiped at the alter of some of the greats.

You Don't Have To Believe Me is a rocking Stevie Wonder riff, Rock & Roll is faux reggae in the Jack Johnson vein, and Oh! channels Billy Joel at his best. A good music historian could probably trace most of these hooks back to classics from the past, but who cares. You'll just think, "this sounds familiar" and at the same time "this feels just right". Hearing a great new pop record like this is like putting on new shoes that actually feel like you've worn them in already. And they still look new.

The music is written and performed very well. The instrumentation is mostly sparse, with bass, drums, piano, guitar, and occasionally something else. The arrangements are well thought out. The songs generally have rhythms that keep them moving forward, and that makes a really big difference. Back To Where I Was has a laid-back backbeat and quiet percussion that keeps it rolling forward. Outside Vilanova is a funky pop gem. Every song has a memorable chorus. You'll hum, you'll whistle, you'll sing along. You'll turn the car stereo up to crazy loud and hang your head out the window down some Michigan back road, dancing in the wind...

Some records like this don't hold up to repeated listening, but this one does.

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