You Feel Like Home
Kevin Earnest's one of the many OC musicians, in this case specifically from Santa Ana, who've decided to move a little north to pursue their music dreams in full, not that we begrudge them per se. It probably explains why he has a song called “Beyond the Orange Groves,” though then again there's “Ballard, California,” perhaps the first time the Santa Barbara County hamlet has been celebrated in such a way. Also, we salute anyone who decides not to go the Imperial Stars route to fame by default, and if Earnest's new album, just released yesterday, doesn't blow a listener away at first, it does sneak up on you a bit, the type of album that makes you a little bummed that it's ended.
Earnest's got the kind of high voice that gently cracks and reaches around the edges, suiting the crisp enough arrangements whether they're slower string-touched moments or sudden rushes of acoustic guitar energy or even flamenco horn breaks — or in the case of “The Rain Maker,” all three in the space of a song. The kind of jaunty, piano-led not-quite-seventies pop-rock/not-quite modern-indie-rock that You Feel Like Home showcases, performed by Earnest and a rhythm section plus various guests, is familiar enough on first blush. Yet the strong piano-led element throughout much of the album, in combination with his voice, suggests the prettier side of Queen throughout the seventies, the kind of thing that acts like Mika have happily cloned in recent years as well.