James Apollo,
Hide Your Heart in a Hive
(No Alternative, 2007)

It has been a few years since the release of Good Grief, and James Apollo has traded his more intimate feel for a grander production on his new release, Hide Your Heart in a Hive. With the addition of more instrumentation such as violin, mandolin, piano and steel guitar, this album is more keyboard-oriented than the last and has a fuller, more rocky and bluesy sound with driving percussion provided by Kevin Hunt.

What it has not lost, however, is its angst and darkness that envelops it. In fact, it is even darker than Good Grief and deals with hurt, pain, fate and even the wicked with hints of classical, rock and roots motifs accompanying those themes.

James still retains the darkness and anguish depicted in his last album, but this time with a slight glimmer of optimism with vehement love songs and nature in songs such as "Beauty Bird," "Moth" and "Home in a Hive."

Now that James is with new major label, they can see the potential of releasing singles for the download charts, and the infectious "I've Got it Easy" is the obvious contender for that slot with intoxicating hooks that even a fisherman would be jealous of.

Current fans will know he was involved in a near-death motorcycle crash in the UK, but James being James, he has survived in his usual tenacious way, giving us a thumbs-up from his hospital bed, proving this is perhaps just another ephemeral chapter in his hopefully long legacy of music to come and this merely a flimsy obstacle in his way. (And they said things couldn't get any darker!)

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Risa Duff

8 December 2007

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