It's always great to see and hear a new artist with a definite sound and identity. Tilman Hartley is one such artist, and we're glad to have been sent his new album for review. Multi-instrumentalist Hartley is responsible for all the elements on each of these songs; guitars, pianos, vocals, and synthesised rhythm sections are all the work of an individual who clearly has a good idea of what he wants from his tracks. They’re a mix of good humour, self-deprecation, and solid indie structures that will be instantly recognisable to fans of soft rock, alternative and singer-songwriter genres.
It's the production that sets this apart though; genuine, no frills DIY that lacks the sheen of a professional recording and often holds the imperfections of a live performance. Purists won't enjoy it, but there's definitely a refreshing aspect to it. Ultimately these are songs written and recorded by a music lover who seems to have produced an album through pure enthusiasm. In fact, album closer 'Wait For It' has a repeated line, "there's some songs make my mind unfold", that demonstrated this ably.
A final point though: it's entirely possible that, with the help of a professional producer and some more clinical quality control this album might reach a different level and a larger audience. It will be interesting to see whether Hartley moves closer to this approach for a next release. Either way he’s on to a winner. Stick with his DIY approach and stay fresh, or expand his horizons by bringing in someone to collaborate with. We shall see.
Tilman Hartley's website