It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I’m listening to a new EP that dropped onto my doormat this week. This is “Outta My Mind”, the debut EP from Robert Hunter, an American singer-songwriter from Danville, Pennsylvania, USA.
The title track is first on the EP. It’s also my favourite out of the five songs on offer here. It’s something of a cross between Ryan Adams and The Ravines. A fetching, wistful tune with glossy production, Hunter’s melancholic lyrics are kept in check by their brevity. “Outta My Mind” is successfully hard-wiring into my brain after a single listen.
“Wasted and sober” is a little bit Cat Stevens, a little bit Ronan Keating. It’s pleasant, kind sounding and melodic. Hunter shows here that he is capable of conveying emotion in his delivery, which adds a much-needed weight to this otherwise rather sombre song.
Next up we have “365”, which is full to the brim with tried and tested chord progressions, enhanced with some lovely little dynamic rock accents. It very slightly reminds me of Dancing in the Dark by Springsteen, and this is no bad thing.
The penultimate song, “Carbon”, is by far the most emotive song on the record – it sounds like there’s some pedal steel guitar going on, which adds to the sentimental feeling. I feel that it could do with a rise in energy at some point during the song, but it is nevertheless an endearing and graceful inclusion.
Rounding off the EP is “On That Road”, a deferential, easy on the ears tune with an extremely catchy hook and rousing chorus. For me, it would be perfect if he could embrace his gravelly vocal and imbue a little come-hitherness. I can easily imagine this being Hunter’s anthem and have visions of audiences singing along at the tops of their voices.
This EP is by no means perfect, but Hunter takes the proven formula of the sensitive singer/songwriter and injects new life into it by making catchy, radio friendly songs that actually have some meaning and substance.
He has produced thoughtful arrangements that include both acoustic and electric guitars and Hammond organ. I’d like to hear him do some more upbeat songs and to get that distorted guitar rocking occasionally. Overall, though, this is a charming and welcoming EP which gives a suitable insight into Hunter’s style and way of thinking. I look forward to hearing what happens next…