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CD Review: The Erin Hobson Compact

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I love this record. I’ve been playing it on a loop for days. A feel-good album if ever there was one, Talk Radio is a 10-track trump. Not that the themes are all that chipper, mind you. Hobson’s laid-bare lyrics put the world under a microscope with a wary eye. Even so, they are hoisted up by a hopeful, upbeat musical landscape that just won’t quit. Folk pop one minute, country twang the next, there are many musical bases covered here, and the production and players are stellar. Hobson has a gift for churning out catchy, melodic tunes that adhere to the walls of your skull like Stickum. Her voice, nearly vibrato-free, is smooth, sweet, and immensely pleasing.

I’m hearing bits of Lisa Loeb, the Indigo Girls, and the Sundays here, but there’s so much more. I simply cannot get “Crash” out of my head, a glorious guitar-strumming pop tune of hope and longing. “Divide” is pure flaming rockabilly fun, fun, fun. “Good Stuff” is jazz tinged, which is not surprising, since Hobson’s background is heavily saturated in jazz guitar. The ballad “Far From Home” is contemplative and loungey. I’ve only seen Hobson perform her coffeehouse fare solo, but I hear the Compact’s live set is amazing. Catch it on November 1 and 6 at the Rhinecliff Hotel and November 20 at Hyde Park Brewing Company. www.chokingchicken.net.

(2009, Choking Chicken Records)
  • (2009, Choking Chicken Records)

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