Hayden The Place Where We Lived

An artist who regularly averages three years between releases, Hayden Desser surprises fans with this Howie Beck produced follow-up to last year's In Field & Town. Pouring ten songs about love lost and lost love over punch-drunk strings and honky tonk arrangements, The Place Where We Lived resonates like the work of an artist feeling his way through his songs in real time. Album highlight "When the Night Came and Took Us" stands as the closest Hayden has come to sounding Neil Young-ish, beautifully placing fragile melodies over choppy piano, while "Let's Break Up" comes off coyer and smoother than anyone could imagine. Perhaps it was the recording sessions during his well-attended headlining tour, opening shows for Feist or his camaraderie with producer Beck but The Place Where We Lived sees Hayden drawing inspiration from a positive, well-focused place. Further proof that emancipation albums are so much rarer than break-up albums. (Hardwood)