This is actually a review of two tracks by Copenhagen-based Homesick Hank: “Believe” and “Leave it Behind (ft. Bonnie “Prince” Billy).”
“Believe” is produced immensely well. Every guitar strum is crisp and clear, and Homesick Hank’s voice is wonderfully smoky. The piano is, in a word, creamy: it’s richly recorded and its midrange is incredibly full. The song features Mary Gauthier, who comes in on the second verse and sings in the choruses. To be honest, she does nothing for the verse; she sings in the same range as Homesick Hank and isn’t as in tune. Lyrically, “Believe” isn’t particularly interesting. Every verse starts out with “You don’t know what you’re missing.” I literally mean every verse. I do wonder if English is Homesick Hank’s second language; if so, the lyrics are pretty good, but I would feel a bit disingenuous if I didn’t judge the lyrics independently of their creator. The song is well-composed and showcases an obvious knowledge of pop songwriting.
“Leave it Behind” is an upbeat country-influenced song, just as well-produced as its predecessor. The upright bass adds an interesting punchiness that works really well. The flat 7 in the refrain is a much-needed deviation from standard diatonic melody, and in turn got this song stuck in my head for several hours.
Both of these songs are composed, produced, and performed exceptionally well, but lack originality. Even the artist’s name lacks originality, for that matter: Homesick Hank is to Seasick Steve what Chubby Checker is to Fats Domino, and I found myself yearning for a well-placed chromaticism, or a lyric to make me stop and think, or something to make these songs stand out.
I received neither, and would be tempted to sing “you don’t know what you’re missing” right back at Homesick Hank.