James William Hindle

James William Hindle

Prospect Park

Badman

Having seen James William Hindle live last year when he opened for Essex Green and Ladybug Transistor, I was interested to hear how his mostly solo and unfortunately forgettable set would translate into a studio album. Thankfully, he recognized that he and guitar alone weren’t enough to sustain his songs. With help from the aforementioned bands, Hindle manages to make a decent Anglo-ized American indie pop album.

“Come Down Slowly” is the perfect song for aimless driving. Guitar leads peak out like sunlight under a thick overlaying organ melody. Hours could be spent on country roads, watching the landscape roll by, with this song as the soundtrack. Ghosts of Reckoning-era R.E.M., Tom Petty and Neil Young spring up on the songs “The Great Woodland Summer” and “Hollow Bodies,” trade informed Southern riffs and sink slowly back into the background.

Hindle keeps his lyrics firmly grounded in reality. “In my room I feel distracted/Here I feel alone/At night we are protected/Right now this city’s home” he sings on “Hoboken.” This is quite a feat, considering the psychedelic bent many of his backing band mates seem to favor. The personal lyrics are surely more appropriate for Hindle’s Elliot Smith/Badly Drawn Boy whispered coo, than verses about unicorns and mushrooms.

The album closes with “Park Slope Song.” Sounding like an outtake from Simon and Garfunkel’s Wednesday Morning, 3am, it features Hindle and his guitar. It brings back hazy memories of his live show, and while it’s a very lovely song, I’m grateful the rest of his repertoire could become fully realized.

Badman Recording Co.: http://www.badmanrecordingco.com/

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