Miles Hewitt: Heartfall (2022)

The opening line of the title track really does get at the “heart” of this wistful album, “A broken heart, a broken heart can see / But my heart is free”. That’s not to say it’s a depressing album, but it is a melancholy album: a broken heart album.

Hewitt’s lyricism is masterfully concise and poetic. He conjures up Greek mythology (“As the lethe overflowed”), the natural world of seasons and weather, religious stories (“The Ark”), and patterns at microcosmic and macrocosmic scales (“Moongreening”). He speaks to existential questions with such depth and thoughtfulness – every word has been carefully weighed. Hewitt is truly in league with the likes of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

His high voice is very unique, carrying a beautiful transcendent quality in its wispiness, somewhat reminiscent of early bon iver. However, do not take me to mean that his voice is not dynamic – it is dynamic! When he does sing in lower tones they are very effective and evocative, like in the last verse of “Vision”, “I would paint a thousand stones / And drop them in the river”. When he sings “in the river,” his voice drops and you get the meaning of the words (stones falling in a river) in his pitch change. This is called word painting and he manages it magically.

The instrumentation on “Heartfall” is gorgeous. Think if Nick Drake’s “Five Leaves Left” had also incorporated slight electronic elements, or think of “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison but less chaotic and more ambient. Some songs are very dense (“Art of War”, “The Ark”) while others are stripped back (“24 + 24”, “Song for Sam”, “Love Comes to Those Who Ask”). The variety of denseness allows for a pleasant and varied listening experience, in which the quieter songs are a welcome contrastive reprieve from the fuller and louder songs.

This is one of the best albums I have heard in a long time and it’s my favourite album of 2022. I cannot recommend it enough.

Very curious and excited to hear more music from Miles Hewitt in the future!

Miles Hewitt’s website:

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