Written and performed in its entirety by Hobey Kuhn from Tennessee, then only 17 year’s old, under the name Resident Scout, My Greatest Sympathies (2010) is a testament to talent in waiting. Others may have more experience to share – or simply more expensive gear – but they didn’t record this album.
Yes, in a word I’d call it ‘grunge’, but Hobey is clearly more than just a revivalist for a movement he wasn’t around for. This is 2012, it’s almost impossible not to incorporate something new, knowingly or otherwise.
A few highlights from My Greatest Sympathies:
There’s a lot of breathing room in this production, whether between riffs or between the punchier tracks (see ‘The Ballad of the Girl and the Well’), making the entire package more listenable and, well, a little more like a package. These pockets reduce it from an outright attack of alternative rock to a well rounded LP with sentimentality.
- ‘Bring it Home’ is a great opener. It introduces the overall feel and features a guitar tone that makes me want to take a long drive.
- ‘Heal Me’ could be straight off Silverchair’s Frogstomp (worked for me in the late 90s, no complaints).
- ‘Garden’ is the first little off beat break from the rest. It’s also the latest single (following from “Exactly What You Need” and is designed to move feet.
- ‘Output 1-2′ is essentially a ballad (possibly autobiographical) and supports my belief that Hobey knows how to write ’em.
- ‘Geraniums’ – Boasting that ‘sing-a-long’ quality, the lyrics of this track that make it one of my favourites.
If I had one criticism, I’d say the artwork (by Hobey’s brother Andrew) doesn’t quite represent the contents. It’s a matter of opinion, but I’d chalk it up to a missed opportunity to capture something a little more pertinent – the rest of the album seems so well thought out.
Lackadaisical is not the word, but, it’s the imperfections that make this production what it is. If it was recorded by a group of 30-something dads, glossy and machined to precision I’m not sure I’d be as taken with it.