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Jonathan Allen Guerra - Hue (2014)
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Jonathan Allen Guerra - Hue (2014)

29-04-2015, 05:25
Folk | Pop | Rock

Jonathan Allen Guerra - Hue (2014)

Artist: Jonathan Allen Guerra
Album: Hue
Released: 2014
Genre: Rock, Pop, Folk
Quality: MP3
Bitrate: 320
Total Time: 35:35
Total Size: 84 MB
WebSite: bandcamp

Hue is an aptly named record for a singer-songwriter of Jonathan Allen Guerra’s ambitions (you may also know him by his stage name JAGUERRA). A hue isn’t the color exactly, but a form of it, a reminder of the specific color. It seems hues can be just as beautiful as that definitive color but somehow they never can outgrow the association. Guerra’s website points to “early Aimee Mann, Nick Drake and hints of the softer side of Sigur Ros,” as major influences for his album, and mostly it would be correct, although Sigur Ros has always made the music in their songs, even on the softer tracks, gigantically more important then Guerra does. Those artists are bright, invigorating colors and unfortunately Jon Guerra is only a hue.

When talking about the album Guerra said he wants listeners to feel the overall mood rather then dissect every lyric. It is a prophetic foretelling for an album that likes to hide vocals behind piano and hide the same piano behind the same vocals. In other words nothing ever really stands out on Hue yet undoubtedly and impressively the meaning comes through.

Take opening track “That Can Wait”: the lyrics never seems to explore further then a quizzical paralysis and besides a rising French horn salute, that ends too soon to challenge too much confrontation and the accompanying music is content to just keep the beat.

The softer rhythms and cueing vocals of Nick Drake are an obvious comparison, except that they really confirm this whole hue business Guerra is talking about. On Drake’s dreamiest songs, “Hazy Jane II” for example; he plays the flutes and the horns for full effect, even if the volume is kept to a hush. Or take the austere simplicity of his masterpiece of a song “Pink Moon,” where he lets the guitar drift away but raises the ante on his words, keep them evenly paced but with a exacting foresight. On “Side to Side” Guerra seems more content to let the listener make their own meaning, never offering one musically or lyrically of his own.

The softer side of Sigur Ros is harder to pin down. “Cry So Free” rumbles with unabashed Icelandic rhythms, and even imparts some of the glorious climaxes that have made Sigur Ros’s live shows so forceful. Guerra has a knack for blending textures, and his status as a singer-songwriter remove him from the blame of not tackling Sigur Ros with complete aplomb. But as can be seen on the piano prologue of “If I Was” Sigur Ros craftsmanship was never meant to be used in glimpses, it was meant to build and extend throughout the song. Guerra seems to want to go to it when he needs it, but to then step back to his songwriter roots once he has started rolling.

But Guerra’s craft is beauty, not invention. He carves these songs into finely tuned paintings of love and loss out of pleasing, unoffensive material. But it remains just a shade of the easily recognizable colors we have already come to know.

Track List:
1. But That Can Wait
2. Side to Side
3. Cry So Free
4. On a Holiday Away I
5. The Rest of My Life
6. Blame
7. One, Two, Three
8. If I Was
9. Time
10. On a Holiday Away II (The Lack of Innisfree)
11. Wake Me Up in Time

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