Music Reviews

Ed Hale and Transcendence

Rise and Shine


Writing at length about his reawakening to music from beyond the Anglo-Saxon world, Ed Hale unfortunately fails to incorporate much of his undoubtedly exciting discoveries into his own music. Instead, he churns out an album of competent, but mainly bland, all-American radio rock. Sure, there are signs of multicultural absorptions (most evident on the title track), but even then the cross-cultural elements seem to have been added as an afterthought, rather than as a fully integrated element.

If anything, Hale’s not-so-revolutionary discovery that there are other countries in the world is more present as a lyrical theme than a musical one, as a track like “The Journey (A Call To Arms)” provides a particularly sympathetic anti-governmental response.

Musically, however, Hale nestles himself in somewhere between Hootie and the Blowfish and INXS, resulting in an album as uneven as those influences suggest. The kick-off track “Better Luck Next Time” is surprisingly effective despite sounding like everything else out there. “Love Is You” is another likeable moment, but tends to blur with every other song on the album. The sanctimonious medley of “So Quero Um Xodo,” coupled with “All You Need Is Love,” works against all odds. But Hale nearly blows it all with “Tres Cool,” on which he seems to admit that his brand of cross-cultural consciousness is nothing more than a way to buy hipster credentials and corporate consumer satisfaction.

Rise and Shine proves to be a perverted but mildly entertaining album, with Hale repeatedly failing to live up to his own musical manifesto.

TMG Records:

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