Dave McPherson, front man of InMe, delivers an interesting and accomplished acoustic album. Nothing new in a front man breaking away to do his own thing. Nothing new in an artist splitting his work into four seasons as well, like The Music Critic’s much loved Larkin Po and eh, Vivaldi. Nothing new in terms of approach to the songs either.
The Hardship Diaries starts well but soon gets repetitive. You quickly realise that the point is lost as the songs are just metal songs played on acoustic. I know it sounds a bit pedantic but instead of getting an album of acoustic songs, you’re getting metal songs done on acoustic and it sounds like demos for the next InMe album. The overall effect is a bit wearing and by winter you start to wish the playing would be less complicated and more straightforward. The effectiveness of the songs are clogged up with this anxiety to show musical virtuosity. By the end the songs seemed to mould into one continual loop and I didn’t know what time of the year it was.
If you’re a fan of that type of acoustic singer songwriter who critics fawn over like Damien Rice and Loudon Wainwright then you may in fact really enjoy this. There are plenty of positives, it’s a well performed album with loads of intricacy, nice piano and acoustic guitar work. She Puts Me In a Good Mood kicks off the summer section and it moves along in a bright and breezy way. Hummingbird stands out as does Before I Even Had You. The latter again being a good case in point, sounding like an acoustic version of a metal song.
Despite my misgivings, it’s a decent album and I’m sure InMe fans will love it. But it’s the big world out there Dave McPherson has to win over and with The Hardship Diaries the jury is still out.
Review by Charlie Brown