All Get Out’s lead man, Nathan Hussey, stripped down the rest of the band’s sound to release his first solo attempt. The effort has been released as Ground Me, a 10-song meditation of self-evaluation in alt-country, post-emo/alternative, and folk.
The album is quite derivative of All Get Out’s main body of work; the strongest distinction between the two is the title. Ground Me paces through well enough, though, with ruminations of anger, jealousy, and pity laced through Hussey’s storytelling.
There is no question that he is making music in its most basic form, and while it may be too base to criticize the production value of the album (Hussey basically did everything from his own home), one can still notice the overall effect of a lower audio quality than most releases.
In some moments, though, the initial brashness of the album’s quality brings out an authentic charm or “honesty,” especially considering mood and affect.
It sounds like Ground Me was recorded in a garage or a bedroom, like Hussey has been singing these songs to himself while on the lonely road of the singer-songwriter, like the only audience for the album is the one or two denizens of the local bar in some southern town on a Tuesday.
Hussey’s strength is certainly in his songwriting. “Angry Men” is simultaneously a cutting critique and a witty commentary of manifestations of masculine anger. Its melodic pacing is interestingly refreshing and a good introduction to the album. Perhaps the strongest song is “Intervention,” which is the most fully realized portion of Hussey’s attempts at songwriting and storytelling. More so than on any other track, his vulnerability shines through powerfully, as he screams, “I’m flat out drunk/No one listens to you talk when you are young,” giving the listener the rawest moments of the album.
The unfortunate thing about Ground Me is that its unique and noteworthy moments are spent in the first couple of tracks. The album trudges on without any more truly interesting moments of clarity or ingenuity, although it does stay afloat for those who are inclined to Hussey’s previous work or the particular niche of alternative rock in which he exists.
Ground Me sounds like the second half of Manchester Orchestra’s debut, I’m Like a Virgin Losing A Child. It has the same post-emo, alternative rock tweaked with a little twang, shuffling behind the musings of a nasally, yet insightful singer.
While Hussey may borrow one too many tricks from Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull, at least he does so to sincere and adequate effect. Still, Ground Me does not reach the same cathartic release and have the same level of musical and lyrical sophistication as contemporaries such as Waxahatchee’s Cerulean Salt did this year.
There is a sense that, while one may be listening to Hussey, there is no qualitative shift large enough to argue that one is not simply hearing a stripped down version of All Get Out.
Hussey – Ground Me tracklist:
- “Angry Man”
- “No One”
- “Persona Non Grata”
- “Ground Me”
- “Lond Bad Days”
- “Well Water”
- “What Do You Know”