When skimming through this album trying to get an idea of what I was about to listen to, I got very confused: As I skipped from track to track I was hearing so many different genres of music coming through, from classical to country, from rock to experimental obscurity that I can’t quite pin point. The one thing that was consistent as I listened however was the deep booming voice of Micah P Hinson; not dissimilar to Johnny Cash this Texan’s voice sounds warm and welcoming but with a slightly uncouth edge.
As I started to listen to the album in its entirety my confusion continued to grow as I was faced with a completely orchestral track, immediately followed by a song featuring just vocals and acoustic guitar very roughly recorded. By the third song, ‘2s And 3s’ I was hoping that the album might settle into a bit more of a rhythm, rather than the sporadic genre skipping of tracks one and two. This was not the case. The song speeds up and slows down as different sections bring changing styles, and the drums feel out of time from the rest of the instrumentation making for very difficult listening. It sounds like two separate songs pasted together to try and make one, but it just didn’t work for me. I hate to say it but the rest of the album is very much the same; songs that don’t seem to know which direction they want to go in, and that lack vital communication between the instruments (it is often very obvious that string sections were recorded at completely different times for example). The album lacks feeling and I don’t quite believe what the songs are trying to tell me.
There is one positive note however: ‘Watchman, Tell Us Of The Night’ is a very good example of what I think Micah P Hinson is capable of. It brings all the genres heard earlier in the album together, dirty guitars are complemented by a great string arrangement. The drums are powerful and intricate yet not dominating. It reminds me of some of Beck’s more recent work, which for me can only be a positive thing. I’m not giving up on Micah P Hinson completely, even if he only writes one or two more songs like this they will be well worth listening to. 3/10