Album review: ALAN HEWITT – High Fidelity

 

 

 

 

Angel Song Records

With a playing and production background spanning Earth Wind & Fire, Warrant, and more recently The Moody Blues, as well as high profile TV and film soundtrack work, keyboard playing vocalist Alan Hewitt’s musical pedigree is not in doubt.

‘High Fidelity’ gives his instrumental prowess and gentle vocal style a melodic soft rock focus, which at its best offers potential radio plays, but at its most bland would land him a spot on a dinner jazz station. Happily there’s enough seriously good playing to satisfy a cross over palate, ranging from the intricately arranged ‘Save Me’, to the Latino funky feel of ‘The LA Song’. The latter is a gem that might easily fit into Todd Rundgren’s poppier moments.

It’s rare for an independent release to have such a sophisticated production, let alone such well thought out songs. The soft focus sax intro, tinkling ivories and expansive harmonies of ‘So In Love’ gently evoke the song title on a beautifully conceived piece of jazz fusion. ‘How Will I Know’ is no less impressive with its layered hymnal vocal sweep as part of an 80’s sounding keyboard piece.

The MOR quotient might test your patience but there’s no denying the classy arrangements and Alan’s mellifluous vocal style that draws you into the songs.

The only down side to a lushly produced and crisply recorded album is that by the three quarter mark you could really do with a little more rock and a little less sugar, with ‘After The Rain’ being one  ballad too much. But given Alan’s forte is what his PR calls a ‘musical tapestry’, he plays to his strengths, whether on the lush strings and backing harmony vocals of ‘Here After’ or on the techno, funky groove and exuberant piano lines of the instrumental title track.

You pays your money and you takes your choice, and if you dig soft rock melodies played with a nuanced jazzy feel, this is for you.

**** (4/5)

Review by Pete Feenstra


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