Album Review: Mick Hart - Side By Side

28 June 2012 | 10:18 am | Michael Smith

It’s Hart’s voice that is the most powerful weapon in his musical armoury.

On this, his seventh album, Mick Hart once again delivers a quietly powerful mix of solo and trio recordings showcasing his unerring skill at crafting melodies around lyrics that explore deeply emotive insights and feelings. And there's even a pensive instrumental mood piece in the title track, built around a simple lapsteel lick.

Things open low-key but a little menacingly with Til The Mess Arrives, just voice, acoustic and percussion sounding a warning bell to live in the now. A pulsing bass drum underpins the similarly brooding Seeing Things before Hart's rhythm section make their first appearance with Just Another Daydream and a touch of summery '60s soul pop with a twist. Light Comes sits closer to contemporary indie, before the rhythm steps back for another solo excursion in So It Goes.

Cut You Up sees Hart getting a little more aggressively passionate, the cut cast in some classic ragged blues garb, though in spirit only – it's no tired 12-bar formula, much in The Fumes/Hat Fitz way of doing things. That plaintive voice also lifts itself out of the otherwise easy strum of Life Is For You Now, before slipping back into the slow loping slide of Already Gone, on its way to deciding that, “if you don't let go,” just maybe you can Have It All.

In the end, however, it's Hart's voice that is the most powerful weapon in his musical armoury, as it sweeps up to a note or seems to press up against his chest before being released, cracking oh so slightly, just as you can imagine the human heart behind it might be in expressing the emotion of it all.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter