7 Spin Records (May 4, 2010)
Reviewed by William
Once upon a time, a child was born. It’s been estimated that John Reuben, Paul Wright, and Pigeon John had birthed such a musical baby. When the kid was ready for the big show, he grabbed his guitar pick and carved an acoustic niche within the heart pounding boom bap beats of hip-hop. Interested? Meet the talented Mr. Heath McNease.
Impressive soundscapes were provided by Heath on both “The Gun Show” and accompanying Acoustic album. And, it would be a travesty to finish this with review with more comparisons to other established artists because he really does have his own sound and flow in spite of apparent artistic allusions as previously mentioned – so I’ll keep them to a minimum. Let’s expand on styles later, but for now, let’s suffice it to say “it’s just darn good music”.
Heath’s latest albums are a complimentary bundle of acoustic melodies with appropriate cadences over timely thumping kicks and pace setting snares. Although he may stab the quirky statements in and out of otherwise serious songs, and maybe allow a more serious topic to be backed by an upbeat melody, he never fails to engage listeners and drive the point home. There is an enjoyable mix of singing and emceeing on the album too, but it still leans more hip-hop than anything else. A slew of content is covered on “The Gun Show”. Perseverance in the face of adversity is weaved through reflective thoughts on “Everything Goes”. Celebrating inner-nerdom is laughed at in “Nerd Out”. Tears drop for the lost and broken in “Pity Party”. A drunken conversation with Christ is recalled on “Makeshift Doxology” when a drastic life change was needed. Plenty like these – and everything in between – is covered on the album. These topics may have been covered before in some other context by some other artist in some other genre, but it’s my completely unprofessional opinion that Heath has done it better than it’s been done before.
So is there anything bad about these albums? Well… no. Not for me. However, a few of the songs might push too far towards the poppy side of the genre spectrum for some hard core hip-hop fans (see: “Nerd Out”, “American, Idle”, and “Ya’ll Ain’t VIP”). That simple fact, however, makes Heath closer to being radio ready than many others seeking that same status – and that only goes to boost his fan base, not hinder album sales.
Chilled-out acoustic hip-hop. Powerful beats and energetic wordplay. Bleeding-heart calls to seek and share Christ’s love. It’s all there. And it’s all for you.
Oh – and the acoustic album is more of the same, just more intimate and far less drums.
For fans of: Witty acoustic flavored hip-hop, Pigeon John, Playdough