[Album Review] Hayden- Us Alone
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by Tiana Feng


Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Label: Arts & Crafts

Paul Hayden Desser has been releasing music for over 17 years. Us Alone is his seventh album and his first release on Arts & Crafts.

Like much of his previous music, Hayden stays with what he does best. Slow sombre songs that are slow and often depressing. Hayden’s never been one to fall into singer-songwriter traps of easy hooks and witty lines for the sake of the audience noticing. Instead he maintains song warmth with minimal instrumentation and hushed vocals.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t the slight hook parts.  In “Old Dreams” the piano sparkles as he tells us “all I want is you”. “Blurry Nights” serves some variation with Lou Canon joining in for a duet.

Lyrically, Hayden deals with the subject of a tension filled love, how life changes with a daughter and mortality. The album ends with an 11 minute song called “Instructions” which serves almost as a will, detailing instructions on where he wants his ashes spread and that The Band should be playing. Sonically it wavers and there’s a continual wish for it to go somewhere. His lyrics are a bit lost in arrangements that don’t quite do the words justice.