Words: Simon Opie
Released earlier this month, 'You The Darkness & Me' (sadly not a concept album about an obsession with Justin Hawkins) is the second album by a ‘band’ called Run On Sentence.
The band is actually a rotating group of musicians who support the singer/songwriter/frontman, Dustin Hamman, and the band’s website says that live performances can be with anywhere from one to twelve members on stage (although between five and eight is apparently ideal). A recent video performance below shows that Dustin is a bit younger and a bit less earnest than you might imagine, although the aforementioned supporting cast of musicians seem really rather serious.
This is the second album following 2008’s 'Oh When the Wind Comes Down', and by contrast where that album is a somewhat eclectic mix with latin and jazz rhythms influencing the songs, this album is – from the three songs I’ve heard - much more focussed and seems firmly positioned within the New American Folk movement. Comparisons with MV & EE, Sunburned Hand Of The Man and Devendra Banhart are obvious, although Dustin Hamman has a unique voice and a sense of melody that sets him somewhat apart. Where they converge is in the existentialist subject matter of the songs, and the influence of a life lived close to nature, evidenced in songs like 'Water' and 'Out In The Woods'.
If extended, but melodious, new American folk songs about ‘life that doesn’t breathe’ are your thing then check out Run On Sentence.
Purchase 'You The Darkness & Me' at Hush Records.
Website // MySpace