Review - Erik Hassle - We Dance
A few years back, Erik Hassle put out a pop album unlike any I had heard. There was just something about it – maybe it was his voice, maybe it was the songwriting, I don’t know. Maybe it was that you knew it was pop-rock, but there was still something entirely pop about it. No matter what it was, his debut, ‘Pieces’ was one of my <a href="http://popbangboom.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-favorite-albums-of-2010-pt-3.html">favorite albums of 2010</a>. It had two hits on it – “Hurtful” and “Don’t Bring Flowers After I’m Dead” that are still with me today.
Since then I haven’t heard much of Erik. I was starting to get worried that like so many underground pop acts, he had simply vanished. Maybe there’s a weird alternate dimension where pop acts after their prime go to keep making music that no one will hear?
Thankfully, Erik is not there, should that even be a place. Hassle’s new album ‘We Dance’ came out somewhat recently (July I think, but let’s just pretend it was today), and I was excited when it popped up on my radar.
‘We Dance’ isn’t what I expected from him, although it isn’t completely out of left field. Instead of producing another “Hurtful”-sized hit, Erik seems to have switched genres slightly. Instead of a pop-rock sound, now we’ve almost got a surf-rock-lite album on our hands. A lot of ‘We Dance’ sounds like he’s been listening to too much Vampire Weekend. When it comes to vocals, I swear the singer from Guster is actually stepping in for him, especially on songs like “Back Underwater”. The CD feels more like an indie rock band making a slightly poppier record. Thankfully, it sounds like an indie rock band making a slightly poppier record…but making it well.
While it wasn’t what I had anticipated, nor what I really wanted from the Swedish popstar, I won’t go so far as to call the album a disappointment. Just when you start to feel that you’ve lost Hassle in the highly-tuned guitar, he brings it back to his usual fabulousness on tracks like “Feather Rain” (which could easily be an Andy Grammer or Gavin DeGraw hit).
About half of the tracks on the CD will actually make you dance, which isn’t a bad number. I think this new style will open Hassle up to a wider audience and might give him that big international break (if only in the underground) that ‘Pieces’ really should have.
‘We Dance’ is only <a href="http://www.amazon.com/We-Dance-Erik-Hassle/dp/B0082L917W/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1345556005&sr=1-3&keywords=erik+hassle">available as an import</a> right now, sorry guys.
Listen to: “Heartbeats in the Sand”, “Feather Rain”, “ABC”, and “Back Underwater”