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Lost in the thought

Hemsworth's latest album cover (Press photo)
Hemsworth’s latest album cover (Press photo)

There’s a mournful whisper that comes through over dreamy taps and subterranean shivers, the warm moisture of a mouth against an ear: “Please don’t trust me. Please don’t trust me,” the voice says.

This intimate angst sits on top of Guilt Trips, the second album by Halifax producer (and former King’s student) Ryan Hemsworth. Hemsworth’s accessible electronic mixes have the closeness of a 4 a.m. revelation, a human presence through hazy, trip-hop layers.  There’s an earnestness here that feels painful, but never self-indulgent. “Happiness and dreams forever” is both crystalline clear and carrion howling, with its warm whispers. Thick, low blurts, like tubas from hell, dart under synths. It’s dangerous and sweet, maybe how it feels to stroke the head of a hyena.  “Weird life” is sharp candy.

While Hemsworth’s more expansive and sleepy tracks play in the better end of contemporary electronic, some of the featured  vocals and hip-hop inspired samples come off as cursory, like the unfortunate guest rap verse in a top-40 smash. “Day/Night/Sleep System” sees these featured words devolve into topsy-turvy, child-like rambling. In its hazier, moody spaces, however, Guilt Trips is a well-wrought piece of now, the pastel waves that would be at home playing through the headphones of murderous teenagers in Spring Breakers.  Hemsworth’s vision and execution are a breath of fresh air in the endless seas of Halifax indie rock.

Guilt Trips was released Oct. 22 on Last Gang Records.

Zoe Doucette
Zoe Doucette
Zoe was Assistant Arts Editor for the Gazette's 146th Volume.
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