In Tall Buildings
Erik Hall worked patiently and solitarily for four years to craft Driver, his sophomore album as In Tall Buildings. The album comes twenty years after Hall originally fell in love with home recording at age 13 - the year he got his hands on his first multi-track recorder. As a multi-instrumentalist and producer Hall eventually went on to record and tour with several groups, including old friends His Name is Alive and, more recently, dream-pop duo Wild Belle, performing the rhythm section tracks and lending an engineering hand to their Columbia Records debut.
In stark contrast to the dense polyrhythms echoed by his former group NOMO's albums, Driver uses a relatively simple palette to create spacious pop songs, leaving plenty of room for Hall's often Peter Gabriel-esque vocals to shine. The music is powerful in it's restrained simplicity, and a compelling foil to the haunting gravity of his vocal performance. Never rushed, his melodies deliver elliptical lyrics that manage to feel intimate, while retaining a sense of mystery. Ultimately, the album's melancholic vibe is relatable, rather than moping or histrionic, and in the end these songs are incredibly comforting and inviting.
Wide-eyed and instantly likable ... Driver is heavy on melodies and breezy in its effortlessness. It’s the kind of album that moves in different ways during different times and reveals aural layers on multiple listens.
Driver feels composed more than written, not in a way that elevates or alienates, but rather one that draws the ear to each presence in a landscape that shifts, unfolds, and surrounds; a quietly intense ride and mix recommended for headphone listening.
A lovely mid-tempo, melancholy stroll, expertly layered with tambourine, multi-tracked backing vocals and choppy electric guitar. In fact, its sense of building warmth in a cold world might just make it the perfect soundtrack to your snow-soaked mid-week.
[Driver] features 10 understated pop songs carefully constructed around guitars, piano, synthesizers and Hall's riveting, whispery vocals.
Full of motion ... Through expertly crafted home recording techniques...Hall weaves the sounds into unique sonic tapestries, with his voice tying everything together.
Driver...sustains such a steady mood-a hushed intimacy touched with the subtlest edge of melancholy-that it can be easy to overlook the ambitious stylistic hopscotch happening behind it... 'Unmistakable...' produc[es] a delicately funky amalgam that sounds a little like Elliott Smith's Either/Or filtered through Peter Gabriel's So.
Erik Hall's music remains impossible to define on 'Unmistakable,' but suffice it to say there's a big-hearted, wistful, deftly arranged metropolitan pop song between that simple bass-kick beat and those mesmerizing keyboard flickers.
Equal parts expansive and intimate, anchored by Hall's mellow tenor and ear for subtle but engaging composition.