In Tall Buildings - Driver

by Jim Harris Rating:9 Release Date:2015-02-19

Erik Hall, born and raised among the tall buildings of downtown Chicago, performs under the band name In Tall Buildings, and Driver, his second release, continues to illustrate how talented this post-punk alt-rocker truly is. Classically trained on the piano since he was eight, Erick plays all the instruments on this dense, moody album of many-parts electronica mixed with odd flarings of weird noises and several wonderful flourishes of electric and acoustic guitars.

Driver is an atmospheric and lush album of quality crafted songs that conjure up the best of War Against Drugs, Nick Drake, Iron & Wine, and any number of moody, rich, 80s alternative bands. The roots of the songs, however, are well entrenched in Americana, with undertones forming the foundation of several cuts. This is particularly evident on the brilliant opening track, 'Bawl Cry Wail', which is an earthy, driving gem of acoustic guitar and drums. The only slight disappointment with this opener is it is so strong that the rest of the album struggles a bit to reach the same heights.

But with such tracks as 'Cedarspeak' and 'Flare Gun', Erick Hill certainly puts his best musical foot forward and creates a stunning collection of atmospheric alternative music that will satisfy any follower of such artists as Conor Oberst or Sufjan Stevens, talented songwriters consistently delivering quality music.

The vocals are subtle and eclectic, as Erik's voice is mixed to sound like such dreamy 70s male rockers as Buffalo Springfield, CSN&Y, and startlingly to me, the band America, which caused me to have something of a seizure, as I haven't heard them since several years before I was born.

But, oh, is Driver well worth investing your time in. Erik Hall is heading strongly in the right direction.

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