Nada Mucho

Jeff Hanson – Not Related to Taylor, Isaac or Zac

Posted by March 16th, 2005 No Comments »

Jeff Hanson - One thing that's totally cool and original is to release an eponymous SECOND album.Jeff HansonJeff Hanson
Kill Rock Stars
By Aaron Burkhalter

Though it seems entirely likely, Jeff Hanson is not a woman, nor an elf, nor the long lost sibling of the late-’90s child-star supergroup. Jeff Hanson is a skilled songwriter in the vein of John Lennon with a breathy falsetto voice that baffles the listener into questioning his gender. Even I dug around the liner notes during the first track, assuming this soprano voice was a guest spot by some other singer and not the apparent male pictured on the Kill Rock Stars website.

Spend a little more time with Hanson’s self-titled sophomore effort, and you realize that his bright vocals do not sound entirely feminine, but are wholly unique in their unprecedented high range for a male voice. Hanson successfully takes the late-’60s falsetto sound and, instead of using it as brief ornamentation or high

Jeff Hanson - One thing that's totally cool and original is to release an eponymous SECOND album.Jeff HansonJeff Hanson
Kill Rock Stars
By Aaron Burkhalter

Though it seems entirely likely, Jeff Hanson is not a woman, nor an elf, nor the long lost sibling of the late-’90s child-star supergroup. Jeff Hanson is a skilled songwriter in the vein of John Lennon with a breathy falsetto voice that baffles the listener into questioning his gender. Even I dug around the liner notes during the first track, assuming this soprano voice was a guest spot by some other singer and not the apparent male pictured on the Kill Rock Stars website.

Spend a little more time with Hanson’s self-titled sophomore effort, and you realize that his bright vocals do not sound entirely feminine, but are wholly unique in their unprecedented high range for a male voice. Hanson successfully takes the late-’60s falsetto sound and, instead of using it as brief ornamentation or high descanted harmony, pushes it to the forefront, carrying the melody throughout the LP. Luckily, his affinity for minor keys, unconventional chord structures and his minimalist approach to finger picking saves his sweet voice from the bubblegum doom of his namesake’s pan flash of “Mmmbop.”

“Losing A Year” opens the album sparsely with faint, almost slapped guitar and Hanson’s crooning voice that flexes its high-ranging muscles once each verse before succumbing to near-silent transitional strumming. The first four minutes of this track highlight the best music on this LP, the latter half, unfortunately, breaks the listener’s dream state with a jarring explosion of drums, piano, bass and eventually swelling strings that offer nothing to help Hanson’s strong deuce of guitar and vocals.

Unfortunately, this studio crutch appears throughout half the album, securing Hanson’s reputation as another Elliott Smith, and submerging his otherwise respectable skill as a songwriter.

Where those moments of larger ensemble do not completely damn his music, they earn this album no extra stripes either. At its worst, in “Welcome Here,” the cathartically boisterous chorus overwhelms, making his delicate glass voice nearly inaudible.

The rest of the album presents Hanson’s craft at its best. “Now We Know” and “I Just Don’t Believe You” present no more than subtle finger picking and Hanson’s charming voice. The closing track, “Something About,” polishes the album off nicely in similar style and minimalism to the opener, but never makes the mistake during its drawn-out seven minutes of intruding upon the quiet of vocals and guitar with any unnecessary instrumentation. – (7.5/10)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2017 Nada Mucho