Chris Hyland of Ocean City, New Jersey has released a six song debut EP, And Where Have You Been? that is both lyrically intelligent and introspective.
Hyland, who wrote everything on the disc, sings two songs about his younger days at the shore, times that were obviously a big part of his life. Both songs are personal enough to make listeners feel like they are snooping in his diary. “Burn It Down” and “Mother’s til Midnight” talk about those experiences but each takes a completely different point of view. On “Burn It Down” the dark side of Hyland’s experiences are reflected ominously with lines like “you don’t like him so do him in/notify his next of kin/burn, burn, burn it down” and “a jury of your peers sentenced you/across the street for beers.” On “Mothers” he sings “Tell your Mother where you been boys/same place as last night/ Mother’s til Midnight.”
“Ameline” takes on the story of a mean girl going to New Orleans with her piercings and tattoo and ready to raise hell. “Give Us Your Money” rightly scathes TV evangelists.
His singing voice is slightly raspy with just a hint of John Mayer. Musically, the CD is eclectically arranged and diverse and is well produced. “Money” features a horn section, while some unusual percussion instruments such as gogo bells and timbales are featured elsewhere. The tracks are performed with a full band that adds color to the usually sterile “guy with a guitar” singer-songwriter style songs. Hyland plays lead and rhythm guitars and even some slide on “Burn It Down.” The melodies lean toward sameness but the eclectic and full arrangements compensate for this adequately.
This is a nice debut from a guy that has potential to be even better.