Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rising Artist - Dashel Hammerstein

Rising Artist - Dashel Hammerstein by Raf Richardson-Carillo*

Good Pop music is hard to find. That is, Pop music that is at once catchy, to the point, and thoughtful. With beautifully overlaid guitar parts, direct yet complex lyrics, and melodies that you will find yourself humming after the first listen, Dashel Hammerstein’s debut album (available here as a free download) possesses all of these qualities. Best of all, it’s not auto-tuned.

The most impressive feature of these twelve songs is the balance within each of brevity and content. Every song lasts about three minutes and is loaded with meaning, a feat not commonly achieved or attempted. Equally impressive is that the lyrics evoke emotion without stating it plainly (the strongest example coming in the opening lines of “Last Song”: Well I saw that you found somebody new/Well he’s tall and he looks like I used to), another rare balance.

The overall sound suggests influence from the Beatles, the Kinks, and various groups from the BritPop movement of the 1990s. Hammerstein has managed to blend these influences into a cohesive album, and, with any luck, he has also managed to pull us, however slightly, towards a place where craftsmanship and popular music are not mutually exclusive.

*Raf Richardson-Carillo is a corresponding writer for Officially A Yuppie. In the past he has reviewed Odd Future and picked Deltron 3030 as one of our Underrated Classic features.