Published Oct 31, 2014Halifax beatsmith Ryan Hemsworth has somehow managed to produce a followup album to 2013's well-received Guilt Trips in the midst of a seemingly endless tour. Where Hemsworth found the time is unclear, but what's certain is that fans of his debut will find some comfort amongst this new material. At just over 27 minutes, though, Alone for the First Time is far from a saga; you've barely just settled into the album's flow before it's time to leave again. Then there are the somewhat lukewarm tracks with Lontalius and Alex G, who aren't necessarily apathetic, but pale in comparison to collaborations on Guilt Trips with the likes of Lofty305 and Tinashe.
Strip away some of the distractions, however, and you've got some endearing songs on your hands. "Blemish," for example, is Hemsworth flying solo, and it's where he really soars. The track is a Mad Hatter's tea party of delicious sounds, with innocuous squeaks, cheerful guitar cuts, and Hemsworth's trademark 16-bit flair laced throughout. Alone for the First Time is a pretty solid sophomore album, but it falls shy of Guilt Trips' coming-of-age charm. (Last Gang)