Mitchell Hall is an artist from London, Ontario who recently released an album entitled Winter Breath. He cites artists like Bon Iver, John Darnielle, Julien Baker, Andy Shauf and Sun Kil Moon. The recurring theme with these aforementioned artists is the overt melancholy embedded in their music. The title Winter isn’t exactly chipper which is a metaphor for his depression. Hall laments in a summer blues postgraduate Conor Oberst type of way with a sprinkle of The Tallest Man on Earth.
Hall is a solid guitarist when he displays his skills and I thought he could sing as well. He opens with “Lonely and Cold” which has some of his best guitar work. His voice is fragile and sensitive in a classic ’60s bohemian artist type of way.
One of the highlights “Flirt” has a nice feel to it with an under-bed of melancholy that provided some levity because of his playing style and delivery. “Persephone” displays some more of guitar skills while the lyrics have a Conor Oberst observational quality to them.
The next song that stuck out to me as “No Sunshine.” I loved the way the picking style and the lyrics unfolded while the vocal performance was arguably his most notable.
The biggest issue I had a hard time getting past was just how lo-fi the recordings were. For whatever reason the album was recorded on cassette tape on boombox. It was hard to hear any nuance and detail at all in the guitar. All you need is a computer or a friend with a computer, a hundred dollar audio interface and sm57 and you can get much better results with just a little engineering know how. My point is I would like to hear a little more improved fidelity next time around because I think Hall’s songs deserve it.
Hall definitely has some raw talent in multiple areas. Additional instrumentation might not be a bad idea as to give some more variation to an album but I think this was a solid effort which established a foundation. Recommended.
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