Harry Hookey has the voice of a country crooner but his lyrics are filled with the urban angst of a Woody Allen film. A bit paradoxical – which could definitely make for an interesting listen, but the added genre-hopping of this EP just makes it sound disjointed and unsure.
Opener ‘Sometimes’ is a meandering, bluesy track with a narrator who sounds like a barfly sharing cautionary tales. The chorus may not be that imaginative – “Sometimes everybody gets lazy / Sometimes everybody gets sad / Sometimes everybody gets crazy / Sometimes everybody gets mad” –but it definitely gets lodged in your brain.
You may be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported back to the late ’90s when ‘Misdiagnosed’ gets cranking. Very reminiscent of bands like Three Doors Down and (dare I say it) Nickelback, it’s an underwhelming rock song with predictable highs and lows. While the lyrics may be tortured and ripe with feeling, the overproduction on this track leaves you feeling not much of anything.
Things take a turn stylistically with ‘Where I’ll Be Found’, and it’s definitely the standout of the EP. Pretty guitars entwined with whimsical lyrics tell a story of a young man yearning for an Into The Wild-style adventure… hopefully with a happier outcome.
‘Lovin’ Touch’ sounds the most distinctively country of these tracks, but that dated rock element creeps back in. Just when Hookey was on to something good he pulls the rug out from under us to reveal a very well trodden floor of musicians past.
What ultimately lets this EP down is its lack of cohesion. When Hookey settles on a style he will definitely be worth another listen.
BY HELEN VIENNE
Sometimes is out now through Warner.