Album Review – John Haesemeyer, “Three Mirrors”

john-haesemeyerJohn Haesemeyer’s soft-rock-esque/kind-of-Country-ish music sounds immensely professional, between nicely-worked deep vocals and rich instrumentals. His work on sophomore album Three Mirrors is an impressive follow up to the debut album Come Along Quickly, and might even trump it. The seven-track album was created with focus and energy stuffed into each individual song. San-Francisco-based Haesemeyer shows a high level of dedication and effort put forward in creating this album and each song.

But what happens when songs are given the proper time and energy, yet do not come forth as beautiful as imagined? If we are using baking terms, let’s say each cookie is cut right and a snowman does not end up looking like a mis-shaped ding dong, but do they come out of the oven soft and delicious?

Well, in order to see how “scrumptious” Three Mirrors is, we should break down the album track-by-track:

1. “Three Mirrors” – The title track of the album gives a general sense of what to expect throughout. At first listen, I almost assume I am listening to a Country album. I believe the production and tuning is so well-enforced, however, that it is safe to call it Soft Rock. The melodious track is calm and only changes tempo at the long-note for a chorus. The bridge features a beautiful amount of string instruments that form together superbly. The song is made to be elegant and a slow ballad, and it pulls this off quite well. My only disappointment is how the vocals sound a bit rough to start the album. The song gives vibes of a calmer Imagine Dragons.

9/10

2. “Two Of Me” – While the first track is a solid start, Two Of Me follows it up with an even better hit. It takes any vocal issues from the previous song and fixes them, along with adding its own twist to the title track. The hard work on production is incredibly apparent on Two Of Me. This is my favorite song on the album, and reminds me a lot of Bread’s music and emphasis on soft guitar and piano.

9.75/10

3. “Think I’m Going Down” – The guitar in Think I’m Going Down brings more nostalgia in similarity to Bread’s instrumentals, but Think I’m Going Down has a bit more of a Soul-y vibe than the previous two. The hook is simple but not overly-boring, and is made to be sung out loud after a couple of listens. It reels the listener in to finish the album, which is the third song’s role on an album of such few songs. Another great song on Three Mirrors, and one of the best.

9.5/10

4. “Church Of My Childhood” – I get a much-more Country feeling from Church Of My Childhood, which comes off as emotional and heart-felt. The pace picks up as the song progresses, though sadly a bit late. Hearing the song in full will definitely give it the fullest appeal, though I do wish the song had picked up a bit earlier. Otherwise, a solid follow up to three great songs.

8.75/10

5. “Back To College” – Again, the vocals get a bit rough and flow starts to break down. The song is passionate, and features impressively-tuned notes from Haesemeyer. The lyricism is intriguing in its story and emotion, but the song as a whole just feels a bit awkward when putting the instruments against the more intense voice of Haesemeyer on Back To College.

7/10

6. “Vancouver’s Shore” ft. Leah Tysse – I was glad when I saw this album had a feature, as I hoped it could be a turning point that made the last song worth hearing. Every song is important in keeping an album worth listening, and song number six had an important role. Both voices compliment each other well, but have little-to-no overlap and make the song feel hardly like a duet. At the points when they come together, the sound is lovely and instruments back up each voice nicely. While the overlaps are predictable in timing, they are worth hearing and both voices coming together sound excellent (though each is enjoyable alone, especially Tysse).

9/10

7. “Bright White” – I could see anyone finishing off the album after the previous song, so Bright White closes it out for listeners. The pace picks up a bit quicker than previous songs, and the sound is similar to the soul-like feel of Think I’m Going Down. The lyricism is not as impressive, nor are the vocals. The song is a nice ending to the album, especially when we hear the strings on the bridge again. However, it seems to repeat problems of previous songs. That being said, hard work on production is evident and the song’s humming caps off the album as a whole smoothly.

7.75/10

So overall, the album averages out to be about:

8.25/10

Basically, the cookies came out nicely, though they became a bit dry after a couple of days. The album has some beautiful moments, but I feel a sense of disappointment in re-occuring mistakes. Artists like Aloe Blacc, Imagine Dragons, and Bread come to mind when I hear Haesemeyer perform. My biggest hope for a follow-up album would be a better flow in lyrics to the music and a better transition in pace (or any on some songs, which hold a sound a bit too similar at times). Of course, Haesemeyer does pull off the Soft-Rock and Country feeling excellently and any fan of the genres should tune in.

You can go over to MuzicNotez.com and hear the full album, along with getting some know-how on Haesemeyer and his music:

http://www.muzicnotez.com/magazine/2014/09/john-haesemeyers-new-album-three-mirrors/

-Austin Heath

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