[25 August 2006]
There is something gorgeously brittle about Hezekiah Says You’re A-OK. In around 30 minutes we are taken on a melancholy ride through a world that is constructed completely from harmonies. The layers used to build this record veil eleven uncomplicated songs with undemanding melodies. Philadelphia songwriter Raphael Cutrufello has put together a promising batch of tunes based round the premise of acoustic instruments and vocal harmonies. It is such a simple idea and it just works; like all unfussy plans, there is little to go wrong.
Cutrufello’s voice sounds as if all of the songs were recorded in his bedroom and he didn’t want to wake the neighbours. This makes for an intimate and slightly unsettling performance. The songs sound like they were written during a hot and sticky summer, they have such an unhurried quality, but there is the sort of edginess that you might expect from a man on the brink. The highpoints are “Albert Hash” and “Circumstance”, both of which sound like a more cheerful Elliott Smith. Hezekiah Says You’re A-OK gives off the warm glow of a smile, but you suspect that behind the smile all is not well in Mr. Jones’ house.