No Hassle At All.
They’re calling him the new, young Robbie Williams. But Sweden’s Erik Hassle is so, so much more, and his debut album solidifies that statement as fact within its first minute of play. I imagine I’ll be talking about Mr Hassle a fair bit over the next few months on the website.
Hassle is a record fuelled by songs of heartbreak. Finely crafted pop masterpieces, all telling the tales of love and loss from someone whose words within this record alone immediately struck a chord with me. “Bump In The Road” is a euphoric, hopeful opener, whilst debut single “Hurtful”, with its dramatic drum-beats and larger-than-life chorus delivers as a regretful apology to a broken lover. “Don’t Bring Flowers” is filled with relationship analogies, whilst the fiery “Love Me To Pieces” bears the exceptional line of “I cling to sorrow like I’m clinging to you / the only thing that I ever knew.”
“Bitter End” is dreamy in its tale of being unable to break the spell of love, “Isn’t It Obvious”, the records rockiest number, has a syntheriffic chorus with tormenting consequences on the heart, and “Wanna Be Loved” sees Hassle pour his heart out by singing “of all the lonely people / I wanna be loved by you.” Reading about this running theme may convince you you’re better off avoiding this album, but – much like Moloko’s groundbreaking Statues long player – it’s truly the type of thing you have to experience yourself before placing judgement on there being a ‘concept’ behind the music.
But perhaps Hassle’s finest achievement is the strictly acoustic-guitar and violin driven “All That I Wanted Was You.” With a simple strum of a guitar, this is the moment on the LP that truly showcases how spectacular Erik is as a vocalist. And when you hear the power in that voice by the chorus, you’ll be hard-pressed not to feel everything he’s singing.
If you’ve ever experienced heartbreak, lost a love, had something beautiful reach its lease of life too soon, or experienced infatuation for someone when it wasn’t reciprocated, then you’ll understand this record. Every word, every note, every key change and each harmony are in their place for an emotionally charged reason.
Erik Hassle is the absolute real deal and, by far and away, 2009’s greatest pop hope.