[20 September 2010]
The first few listens of Kristy Hanson’s sophomore release Into the Quiet are a little confusing. It’s unclear what kind of album it’s trying to be. Is it Pop/Rock? Is it Folk? Is it Alt-Country? All elemental particulars of each genre are present, but they fluctuate from one song to the next. Of course, Hanson is not required to fulfill one specific genre for an entire album, she is entitled to pick and choose all she wants. The problem here is that there doesn’t seem to be enough of a stretch between those genres, which gives the impression that this change is a result of an indecisive, vacillating production style. A little bit of everything to please everyone. The result is a bland recording that does not stand out in the way that is intended, which is a shame because there is definite evidence that Hanson has the makings of a great performer and songwriter. However, her delivery and execution are over-rehearsed and much too self-conscious to sound genuine. The emotions she attempts to convey with each track feel forced and almost calculated, only occasionally reaching believable sincerity. Fortunately, though, her underlying creative and artistic soul is there, trapped beneath her unfortunate self-sabotage. The lyrics emulate the simplicity of alt-country, but the delivery suggests a much too serious Pop/Rock recording. It’s a bad combination. Into the Quiet is a garbled mess, without any standout tracks, just scant standout moments peeking through stifled production, which is constantly at odds with Hanson’s songwriting abilities.