Hayden

Us Alone (Arts & Crafts)

SXSW 2013 Records

Hayden

Us Alone (Arts & Crafts)

Hayden Desser's voice carries a weary emotional weight, seeping through cracks of forgotten walls where the tentative warble and hesitant confessions convey more than lingering words. The Torontonian's seventh LP fills with those moments, yet also a veiled levity, as on opener "Motel" when he admits, "I can't go on pretending this song is about young lovers, born to run/When it's so clearly about you and me," breaking the lustful escapist daydream with the reality of driving to put a crying child to sleep. Hayden's songs sink in slowly, whether it's the jilted realization of "Just Give Me a Name" or the gorgeous funeral directions of closer "Instructions." Us Alone feels like a life coming into focus and meaning as the songwriter rolls into his forties with patience and appreciation, especially in the beautiful "Old Dreams" and tightly autobiographical career recall of "Almost Everything." (1am, St. David's Bethell Hall)

***.5

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