Eric Hutchinson
Moving Up, Living Down


2.5
average

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
April 22nd, 2012 | 22 replies | 5,432 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nice, safe & harmless within the confines of the major label machine.

If reports are to be believed, it was only bad timing which halted the ascension of D.C. born singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson to becoming a household name. A few years after Ben Folds had rocked the suburbs, and around the time John Mayer started winning Grammys and Jack Johnson began fooling around with Ben Stiller, Hutchinson had signed to well-established label Maverick Records and was ready to unleash his work upon the masses. One long court case (between Maverick and parent company Warner) later and all momentum had stalled, with Hutchinson's growing collection of tunes practically shelved. Even when he was able to self-release another record, Hutchinson was beaten to the punch by another contemporary; Jason Mraz and his smash hit 'I'm Yours'. As his mini-album 'Sounds Like This' proved however, Hutchinson arguably owned a wider stylistic range than any of his acoustic-pop peers, a fact which has become unfortunately mute now that 'Moving Up, Living Down' has been released within the confines of the major label machine.

While 'Sounds Like This' may have been hit-and-miss, it was so on the back of some admirable genre boundary pushing and by showcasing Hutchinson's relatively varied array of influences. Almost evenly split between guitar and keys driven tunes, 'Moving Up, Living Down' is comparitively safe and inoffensive, with most of its tracks by no means being bad, but coming off as nothing greater than harmless due to their reluctance to innovate. Take, for instance, promising opener 'Talk Is Cheap', which contains a reggae stomp that is mild at best. Certain passages hint at Hutchinson's extended vocal range, but never are his limits tested. And while his lyrics are not the continuous stream of cheery topics that acoustic pop-rock is known for, they still don't exactly push the envelope. Thematically, catchy lead single 'Watching You Watch Him' mines the same territory as Adele's 'Someone Like You', but fails to reach the emotional peak of that song due to its over-production and contradictory want to be just too "nice".

Of course, it is undoubtedly that same niceness which also brings Eric Hutchinson an audience. The closing duo of 'I'm Not Cool' and 'Not There Yet' especially further his affable "every man" persona, and hint at his surprisingly entertaining live show that was showcased on 2006 EP 'Before I Sold Out'. Such a humorous title and release not only highlighted Hutchinson's grounded intelligence, but also his charismatic ability to please and involve a crowd. This characteristic resurfaces here with devices such as keys, horns, whistling and hand-claps often popping up to add that extra layer of addictive hooks. In fact, at stages, almost everything from the percussion to the beats - programmed or otherwise - sound like hand-claps! Backing vocals are also fashioned for live sing-alongs, right down to the prompting of "everybody let me hear you sing" on 'Best Days'.

Unsurprisingly, Eric Hutchinson is at his best when extending both tempo and sound to either extreme. Originally dating back to his 2003 debut release, country tinged acoustic ballad 'Breakdown More' finally adds some heartfelt emotion to proceedings. Meanwhile, the now 31 year old lets loose on lively duo 'The Basement' and 'Living In The Afterlife', adding genuine funk and soul to what are likely to be future singles. Elsewhere, however, the fact that half of these tracks cross the four minute mark only serves to accentuate the existence of filler. Any hint of Hutchinson's previous fondness for tempo-switches and build-ups are suppressed, and it is the lack of these unique arrangements which ultimately makes 'Moving Up, Living Down' nothing better or worse than a nice, casual listen. Naysayers may suggest this is par for the course for this genre, but Hutchinson has previously proved that he is capable of better. Maybe a further case of bad timing is required for him to reveal his talent!

Recommended Tracks: The Basement, Breakdown More & Talk Is Cheap.



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user ratings (5)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

2 - 5 - 0


Just in case this dude's name sounds familiar, but you can't quite place him, then this should help:

If he wanna rock he rocks,
If he wanna roll he rolls,
He can roll with the punches,
As long as he feels like he's in control.
If he wanna stay he stays,
If he wanna go he goes,
He doesn't care how he gets there,
As long as he gets somewhere he knows.
Oh no, Ah na na na na na na na na na na na.

Funeralopolis
April 22nd 2012



10990 Comments


These mind games

Digging: Sweet Smoke - Just A Poke

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Life is too short to play games.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



30865 Comments


Only 4 recs? Davey, are you ill?

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

No, Sputnik is ill... Remember that we cannot edit our reviews atm. Otherwise, I'd have Atavanhalen's entire album collection there, coz I know he just loves this dirty, gritty kind of music. Hehe.

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



10246 Comments


davey shadily in the lead of staff writers who review things i've never heard of....so underground

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hahaha. Uncool is now cool & I'm so mainstream that I'm underground.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



6319 Comments


http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100108063233/uncyclopedia/images/archive/b/b5/20100108063328!Exploding-head.gif

Digging: Sully - Blue

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



6319 Comments


But seriously, don't think I'll be checking this out...

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Don't think you will be alone there.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



6319 Comments


Thought so ;)
If it's of any worth, this is a great review; reads like a mini-story

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks clercqie. Hutchinson's back story is actually an interesting one, and while it does receive mixed reviews, I actually enjoy his 2006 live EP. Some of the banter with the small audience repeatedly makes me giggle.

AtavanHalen
April 22nd 2012



17927 Comments


packed to the rafters

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I know you love this DavID.

AtavanHalen
April 22nd 2012



17927 Comments


don't tell dad

Tyrael
April 22nd 2012



20721 Comments


This is awful

please review good music next time

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



30865 Comments



Hahaha. Uncool is now cool & I'm so mainstream that I'm underground.


Down under is not the same as the underground

AtavanHalen
April 22nd 2012



17927 Comments


This is awful

please review good music next time


this is ck we're talking about

he'll probably review jason mraz or fucking michael buble or some shit next

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2012



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Speaking of Mraz, I think he released an album on the same day. I'm calling it now... Hutchinson vs Mraz: WrestleMania 29 main-event.

AtavanHalen
April 22nd 2012



17927 Comments


on the blandest stage of them all



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