The recent release ShadowLight by Forrest Hill is one of those albums where you can tell how much thought and work was put into it. Hill fills this album with layers of instrumentation but it never feels like he’s stuffing too much in. On top of the standard rock format of guitars, bass and drums you are greeted with instruments like flugelhorn, cello, saxophone, keys and dedicated background vocalists.
Hill is an accomplished musician who was apparently influenced by legends like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Talking Heads, The Beatles and Paul Simon. The artist that actually came to mind was Father John Misty. I thought the vocals sounded similar and even more importantly the emotional resonance from the songs felt similar.
I loved how this album presented so many different approaches to a song but it still felt cohesive. This is something I mention quite often and this is an example of the album the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
The album gets started with “Everything Lost” which is arguably the most single worthy song on the album. It didn't take me long to appreciate the vocals. Once the orchestral strings came into the mix I was completely on board. The song feels so heartfelt and sincere.
“Still Crazy Over You” was even better. This song has a funky, Motown vibe with classic old school vocal harmonies, horns and organ. “Cold Rain’s Coming” has a great groove. The ascending vocal harmonies, guitar work and well everything is so on point.
The fantastic songs keep coming with the warm and reflective love song “Like a Fire” and the more melancholy “Birds Fly To Heaven.” If you twisted my arm I might say “Circle of Life” was my favorite song on the album because of the infectious hopeful feeling it instills in your core. As the album progressed I can’t say I found a song that came close to being a dud. The closer “One Better” is a tearjerker but in a motivational, reflective look back at your life type of way.
Well this is an album that has not gotten its due. It true. Unfortunately most pop music doesn't have this much soul and human emotion in my opinion. This is an album that I think plenty of people will appreciate. So spread it around if you liked it as much as I did. Highly recommended.
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