Hrishikesh Hirway has an amazing ear for crafting subtle melodies that are absolutely beautiful. Under the name The One AM Radio, Hirway's musical career has recorded three full-length albums as well as a handful of EPs. The latest, This Too Will Pass, shows this Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist performing on guitar, cello, drums and drum programming, supported by an ensemble cast of strings and horns.
This is a stunning album in every aspect, from the music and lyrics to the incredible artwork. The cover image of a home on fire sets the tone for the album, an emotionally intense collection of songs written from a rough patch for Hirway. His songs focus on his journey through break-ups, writer's block and a trip to his now vacant family home, taking him from Los Angeles to Rhode Island. It took him two years to complete This Too Will Pass, resulting in a piece of work that is honest, intimate and timeless.
Describing the sound of The One AM Radio is not an easy task. I have seen the term "folktronic" used before, which seems to cover his genre fairly well. Hirway begins the album with "The Harvest," a song that starts with nothing more than his vocals and acoustic guitar. It then slowly builds by adding in layers of vocal harmonies, leading to a drumbeat a brief string flourishes.
His has an impressive knack for constructing intriguing textures using somewhat sparse instrumentation, such as using bass clarinet for the primary melodic line of "Mercury." Although the album's subject matter is definitely less than cheery, Hirway manages to maintain a warmth to each song. He ends up coming across like a good friend going through some dark times, who just wants to share a bottle of wine while opening his heart up, set to some of the best musical arrangements you'll hear this year.