Micah P. Hinson - Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Micah P. Hinson - Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs

by June Craven Rating:8 Release Date:2010-05-24

Micah P Hinson, a singer/songwriter who has been quite prolific, releasing an album a year since 2004's Micah P. Hinson and the Gospel of Progress, is still, I think, underrated. The simplicity of some of his songs can be misleading. This is his fourth studio album, following on from 2009's All Dressed Up and Smelling of Strangers. Walt Whitman's poem Pioneers! O Pioneers! provided the inspiration, but America provided the context. Says Micah: "I tried to make sense of everything that's happening over here…The death of the American dream on the coat-tails of the modern US of A."

'The Striking Before the Storm' seems to encapsulate the idea of being disillusioned with the world as it proclaims "It's all for show/ and it's all undeniable." The song gradually takes on an ominous tone as it finishes with a haunting cello. There is certainly a feeling of desolation in some of the songs, a kind of feeling that transports the listener to the far away places where the album was recorded from a canton in Colorado to some small apartments in Spain. The Pioneer Sabateours is a completely new band, as Hinson says he needs the musicians to change with each record; as he says: "That's the only way the music can get out properly"

The first single, 'Take Off that Dress for Me' is a brief upbeat ballad, with the kind of chorus that you know is going to stick in your head, obviously picked in the hope it will appeal to a more mainstream audience than most of Hinson's usual output. '2's and 3's' sounds as if it belongs in a western movie, it builds into a wall of sound, although the production on that particular track could have been better as it sometimes feels as if his voice is in danger of being drowned out , as most of the song sounds like a chase, until the mood completely changes near the end and there is suddenly a lovely orchestral moment.

'The Letter at Twin Peaks' is a love song with a melody that makes it feel as if it could go on forever; the arrangement gives the song a really strong wistful quality. 'She's Building Up Castles in Her Heart' is another slow burner, that builds until you've almost forgotten that songs are supposed to end, making sure the close of the album is a high point rather than simply fading out. This album is definitely his most accomplished to date, and the more I listen to it, the more I get lost in every song

I think this album is definitely a progression for Hinson, particularly the way the more complex string arrangements add an extra level to the music. That said, the album still builds itself around familiar themes, that are sometimes both unique and universal. With this album I think Hinson manages to do what many artists find very difficult - continue to develop and gain a new audience without alienating the old one.

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