David Hopkin Overlook

David Hopkin Overlook.jpg

Submitted by Alonzo Evans

The full musical flight of David HopkinsOverlook is something to admire. There are numerous peaks and valleys embedded in this collection, alongside powerfully evocative vocals and lyrical content that never calls too much attention to itself and, instead, serves the overall scheme. Hopkins’ Overlook has ten songs with varied texture and, often, a willingness to experiment or utilize nuance that never smacks of self-indulgence. The alternative rock colors Hopkins puts to use over the course of this album are culled, undoubtedly, from his own musical vision but, likewise, takes on colors from his time collaborating with some of the music world’s brightest talents like The Who, his former band LIR, Damien Rice, and Mark Stoermer from the band The Killers, but this album conclusively proves that his own star is capable of burning every bit as bright if not brighter.

The album opens with the instrumental “A Small German”. Brass exerts a strong influence over this song and it’s carried off with considerable aplomb, but the chief value of this song exists twofold – one, it’s impressively arranged and the horns boast a warm, powerful sound. The second value is heard in the obvious melodic sophistication that Hopkins brings to the table every time with each of this album’s ten songs. He steps back, just a bit, from those melodic strengths with the album’s first lyric laden number, “C’est La”, but we also are afforded a glimpse into his wheelhouse of surprise as Hopkins openly embraces an impressively funky sound quite unlike anything we’d hear from Damien Rice, The Who, or many of Hopkins’ earlier collaborators. The rhythm section is the musical star with this song and he caps things off with a vocal performance that’s just as musical in every meaningful way. Overlook’s fourth track, “The Spirit Song”, is one of the more thoughtful numbers on the album with a stripped down arrangement eschewing much of the pop and sizzle we’ve heard from the earlier songs. It’s meditative and rather gentle with carefully modulated peaks and a sense of orchestration that lulls you.

His mild case of Beatles worship continues with the song “Who Am I What We Are”, but he puts his own stamp on that influence with an involved and loving vocal, often times double tracked, but yet one gets the feeling that Hopkins could carry these songs just as effectively without this benign bit of studio wizardry. There’s a steady acoustic guitar plugging away throughout the entirety of the song “Disappointed” and exceptional drumming that turns the track this way and that with its dramatically precise timing. The piano balladry of “Let Somebody Inside” is a wonder and comes at a great place in the album thanks to how it follows the lead of the earlier “The Spirit Song” and doesn’t gussy things up too much with production and involved arrangements. Instead, this has a more classicist air and many will likely choose this song as one of the sleeper gems on Overlook. David Hopkins’ Overlook is a master class in how to pour old wine into new bottles, but yet his presence throughout the album is undeniable in the way it proudly stands on its own.

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