Someone to Tell
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2004, Volume 11, #12
Written by T.J. Simon
With a road paved for him by 20-something singer-songwriters such as John Mayer and Jason Mraz, Bronx native Ari Hest delivers a winning collection of acoustic guitar-based pop-rock on his major-label debut Someone to Tell. Throughout the collection, Hest conveys his introspective lyrics in a meaty and soulful voice reminiscent of a young Michael McDonald, and his outstanding backing band sounds consistently seasoned and tight throughout the albumís dozen tracks. The discís best moments include the peppy opener Theyíre on to Me as well as the song of praise to a bigger-than-life lover Anne Marie. Elsewhere, he invokes the spirit of Counting Crows on the harmonica- and accordion-tinged Strangers Again, and the influence of Hootie and the Blowfish shines through in Hestís moving vocal performance during Holding On. The one track on Someone to Tell that is head-and-shoulders better than the rest is Consistency. The song begins with a lively cadence and infectious beat until a Motown-esque horn section arrives, seemingly out of nowhere, to transform a good tune into one of the yearís best recordings.
Unfortunately, Hest comes dangerously close to overstaying his welcome on the 53-minute Someone to Tell. He would have been well-suited to tighten up a few of the tunes that hover near the five-minute mark (Aberdeen, When Something Seems Wrong) and altogether drop some of the non-descript, mid-tempo clunkers (Monsters, A Fond Farewell). Nevertheless, Hest has recorded a compelling disc full of buoyant melodies and thoughtful lyrics that far surpasses most of his contemporaries. Hopefully, he wonít get lost in the music industry rush to identify the next John Mayer. Ĺ
Someone to Tell is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box