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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Jeff Hanson
Son (CD)

Shmat guesses he should not be amazed at the prepubescent voice coming out of the fairly large looking guy on the CD insert of Jeff Hanson's debut album Son. For evidence that it's entirely possible, just look at the pixie-like bleatings that Daniel Johnston emits. The thing about Hanson's voice is that once listeners can get beyond the first hurdle of simply believing it's possible for a guy to sound so gracefull and, well, HIGH, it becomes a very nice complement to the rest of the material. Shmat thinks it's safe to say the structures of the songs on the album are very much like Elliott Smith's in quality, although there's more of an unabridged wonder in Hanson's voice that makes it more upbeat. Granted, from looking at the lyrics, it's no walk in the park ("You are the reason why you're dead/You are the cause for all this yes") but something about it seems less desperate or depressed.

It's a shame that the female voice comparisons (Juliana Hatfield, Mirah, Rose Melberg) might become a stinging focal point, because Hanson possesses a very good set of songwriting chops. Melody and choruses with feeling are evident on songs like the opener "Hiding Behind the Moon". Also, Hanson seems pretty comfortable shifting gears from singer-songwriter mode on a song like "Just Like Me" to an angsty full band rocker like "If You Ever Say".

For the record, the Shmat would like to bet dollars to doughnuts that the second most frequent comment that Jeff Hanson probably gets after the elevated nature of his voice, is "Hey, when is HANSON is going back on tour..."

- review by SHMAT (5.2.03)        

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