The One AM Radio This Too Shall Pass

Has the dark blue sky ever sung to you at one a.m.? Has it ever reached out from its endless haze and touched you? Did your eyes sing? Did your ears breathe? Did your mouth kiss the air and swallow a star? Then you probably haven’t heard this album. The liner notes credit Kurt Ballou (Converge) for the drum work but this isn’t your typical Ballou project. Hrishikesh Hirway is the main man behind Los Angeles’s One AM Radio. This album is a lovely orchestral display of musical loneliness, each note stings the air as it slowly but surely penetrates the speaker, as if speaking to angels. Sufjan Stevens has mastered this art but Hirway is going for something less accessible, something more intimate. Other moments are misleading, however. For example, "Our Fall Apart” sounds Postal Service-inspired, with its poppy edge and delicate dance antics. Hirway sings as if he’s the offspring of Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam, while the direct, fragmented lyrics rest easily on wallowing string arrangements and harmonising acoustics. "Coming Back” has a Shins-y melody but the raspy break beats and bold guitar laced with shining violins, well, that’s all One AM Radio, and it’s brilliant. (Dangerbird)