REVIEW: Richard Tyler Epperson – ‘Hourglass’

Epperson Hourglass

Artist: Richard Tyler Epperson
Album: Hourglass
Genre: Pop Rock, Alternative
RIYL: Jason Mraz, John Mayer

Richard Tyler Epperson’s Hourglass has a fitting title for so many reasons. Coming in just shy of an hour of music, Hourglass contains 14 tracks of honest and heartfelt acoutic-based pop rock that lyrically explores life, love, and all the wonders in between. It particularly touches on what precious little time we have here on Earth and how quickly life moves by and waits for no one — something we can no doubt all relate to. Along with catchy melodies, impressive instrumental layers, and memorable choruses, the familiarity helps make Hourglass an easily accessible listen for any fans willing to explore the more radio-friendly and often cutesy areas of pop rock.

In too many cases, simple, straight-forward lyricism can be a turn off for me, especially when it comes to pop music. At this point, it seems that you’ve heard pretty much any line about love that can be written and those lines are being recycled on a daily basis from slews of musicians the world over. However, if those lyrics that you feel you’ve heard countless times in the past are paired with compositions that accentuate the simplicity in a way that somehow manages to feel fresh or comforting, it can be a major relief. Epperson’s lyrics are familiar, yes, but the way that they manage to compliment his music and vice versa works wonders throughout Hourglass. “Days go by, and time, oh how it flies. And the memories keep flashing through my mind.” I’ve heard it all before but the way it meshes with the beauty in the acoustic guitar just feels right. One of the best things about the lyrics being uncomplicated is how that notion matches the vibe of the music. These tracks feel intimate, like songs that you would sing at a party as it was finally winding down. Songs that all your closest friends know the words to. These are songs that you play when you’re in your bedroom, alone, reflecting on life and past loves. Epperson’s coming to terms with the fact that he’s getting older and at some point, every person questions where they’re at in life. They question whether or not they’re on the path they wish to be and if they’ve lived life as fully as they should with the people they love and care about. All of these ideas are in the forefront of Epperson’s creations and it takes next to no effort for the listener to connect as we’ve all been in the same position.

With 14 tracks on a single album, you would hope there would be some variety present and Hourglass does not disappoint on that front. While there is certainly a lot of more mellow and sometimes melancholic simple-structured acoustic cuts, tracks like “Lights” and “Blind My Life” find Epperson exploring slightly varied versions of the other offerings on Hourglass. “Lights” is shrouded in electronic glitches, dramatic strings, and prominent percussion as Epperson’s distorted vocals dance out of balance. “Blind My Life” is a more upbeat track carried by piano and electric guitar that serves as a nice change of pace.

Hourglass at times can definitely feel as long as it is due to some of the more dreary tones throughout, but it’s cohesive and never gets boring necessarily. Nothing feels wasted or overdone which adds to its feel of completeness and cements the assumption that Epperson was completely in control of what he wanted this album to be. This is likely why he chose to include 14 tracks as opposed to releasing a more condensed effort. A lyric here or there can teeter on the edge of being hokey but the heart is always present. Nearly every song on this album could find a place at radio and I see no reason why Epperson won’t break more into the spotlight as Hourglass finds its audience and word of mouth does what it does best.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by: Brian Lion — (Follow him on Twitter)

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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