By Luke Hirst
Luke Hirst gets off to a better start than most beginner singer/writer/guitarists. His guitar playing is crisp and well-recorded. His tunes are confident and he sings with conviction. He adds extra bits of eight track instrumentation (mostly keyboard presets) and has produced a pretty listenable demo. The songs have fairly standard shapes and show real potential. At this stage they are OK vehicles for Luke's general yearning mood and raw talent. But they do lack hooks or novel ideas that would help the listener carry them away at the end of the night. They could be tapes from the Gary Lightbody early years archive or something. People would say "yeh, you could see, even in those days, that he really had something".
Lyrics are OK to get going, but don't go beyond "is that what life's all about?", "tear it all apart to steal your heart", "in times like these we can't afford to be afraid" "how long till I learn to fly like a diamond in the sky over you". This is a bit cut and paste and hides more of the real person than they reveal.
The self-publicity that came with the CD goes way over the top. But never mind. The freshness of the CD does its own work, and I would heartily recommend that Luke gets himself out and about and does lots of acoustic nights and open mic sessions, keeps writing hundreds of songs, and works on that distinctive and warm vocal style. I for one would like to hear him singing some classically good songs - it won't do any harm at all to his development as a writer, and might push him up a notch or two in that department. I'm thinking Leonard Cohen, Will Oldham or Mark Linkous rather than Badly Drawn Boy here. You just know that the next set of songs is gong to be light years ahead of this perfectly respectable collection.
Alternative / Punk / Rock