Singer/songwriter Mike Herz has released his second album entitled The Acrobat which presents a true-blue Americana sound. Rife with nostalgia and blunt lyrics, Herz has put together something very authentic.
His strength is definitely in his writing which is very fluid in terms of metaphors; he sort of makes up his own language and it’s pretty easy to pick up. He brings a lot of charm with his guitar skills and introspective reflections. It’s easy to see why he is racking up tour dates, I imagine his work makes for a great live performance.
I do feel that Herz falls into a few different ruts for me. The first being arrangement and tempo. Distinguishing one song from another proved to be a little tricky. I can also see myself having trouble distinguishing Herz from other artists in this genre. It’s a tough challenge in any area of music, but especially when everyone is using a similar instrument lineup, it’s easy to fall into certain grooves that match others. Another slight issue is that he has a lot to say and sometimes the lyrics can fall over themselves and feel rushed. He is very conversational and tries to cram in an entire story along with all of his metaphors into one song and it can be a little dizzying. It’s possible this lyrical format could be part of the similar track issue.
Herz has a timeless voice well suited to storytelling and it works, though I think he manages to get a little stuck in a specific cadence with telling his lore and that’s how things start to stick together too much.
There are certain things that help break up the tracks beyond his guitar; there are lot of extra players on the board playing a slew of instruments. I think one of the best uses of the violin and banjo comes in the track “Homegrown.” You get little tastes of the harmonica in songs like “Naked Heart” which is a nice touch.
There is a tranquility at the core of what I was hearing, as though he’s come to terms with a lot of what he’s telling you. Even on the track called “Can’t Wait to Never See You Again,” which did feature one of the more aggressive tempos in the album, there was still a peace about it. With a title like that one can imagine that something pretty brutal went down and yet I could sense closure there.
The production is good; it serves every aspect of the music well, especially Herz’s voice. I think all the music in his album has a high quality to it and makes for a lovely listen. As I said, this is a very authentic album that doesn’t hold back on personal details or emotions.
That’s something I can respect. I would be happy to hear more from Herz, especially if he manages to mix things up a little bit.
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