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Friday, April 15, 2011

Track-by-Track: Erik Hassle - Mariefred Sessions

It seems as if EPs have enjoyed a sort of resurgence in the last few years. Many up-and-coming artists are opting to release a string of them rather than a full album. It allows for more music more often and caters to today's ADD culture. Luckily for Erik Hassle, whatever he releases is going to be worth hearing.. EP or album. And this is a particularly interesting release because it's a collaboration between Hassle and two members of HUGE Swedish rock band Kent.

1. Are You Leaving - The single. An atmospheric, mature electro pop number that just gets better and better the more you hear it. Hassle's vocals are some of the most evocative in the pop landscape right now, both in tone and phrasing. This is like a male version of one of Robyn's excellent singles. 10/10

2. Sometimes When It Rains - Continuing with the electro influence, this begins with a spare, squiggly synth arpeggio that runs throughout the entire song to excellent effect. It's got one of those slow-burning melodies that builds to a big chorus. 9/10

3. I Am Not An Island - More downtempo than the previous tracks, this has a melody that's a little more distant. It's not one of my favorites, but it's no slouch either. I'd give it a solid B. 8/10

4. Stay Away - This is the second single, and a good choice. It actually sounds a lot like something I could imagine Kings Of Leon singing--an earthy, powerful ballad with a cathartic chorus. I didn't initially love this, but it has really stuck with me more than anything on the EP. 10/10

5. Stains - The big ballad on the album. It has a very dramatic feel to it, especially in the first verse where it's just Hassle's vocals and an organ (or keyboards that sound like an organ). It's a beautiful piece, but I think it would be even more powerful if it was a little shorter. 8/10

6. Arrows - A constant build-up, but that's the problem I have with this track. It never really explodes into something memorable. Sure, the music takes a favorable shift around the three minute mark but the chant that ends the EP just feels a little lacking. It's probably my least favorite track on the album. 7/10

Album Grade: 8.7/10

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2 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

it feels slightly odd and wrong that it seems the world is still waiting for Erik Hassle to be as big as we all know he can be. I was listening as i read your review and think that this is an excellent stop gap for him on the way to something bigger...

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Joe Jacquest said...

I've saw Erik Hassle live just before he released his last album and he was bloody brilliant. Seemed to be a lot of buzz around him and looked like he was destined for great things.. Guess it sometimes just takes longer for the general public to catch on to a good thing.
Didn't know this EP was out so thanks for bringing it to my attention Nick!

6:36 AM  

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