Listening to The Jon Hill Project’s Rebirth almost feels like watching an Avengers movie because the idea “to bring together a group of remarkable people” comes to mind. The album features 11 different high profile, alternative vocalists for its 11 tracks, all of whom have achieved some level of notoriety. Performers from Copeland’s Aaron Marsh to Hail The Sun’s Donovan Melero to Dance Gavin Dance’s Tilian Pearson make an appearance. Each vocalist gets their own track all to themselves, and it’s actually a refreshing change of pace considering sometimes, featured vocalists don’t get a chance to fully shine.
With that out of the way, though, Rebirth stands very strongly on its own. Presumably, Jon Hill was himself responsible for the vast majority of what’s found on the record, including the lyrics, and he always delivers a direct and personal accounting of what feels like his real emotional state. Both the themes and the music itself present legitimacy. In a manner no doubt familiar to many artists, he feels like he’s working through real life issues and drives that he’s found himself mired in, and he’s chosen to sit with these points of contention to the point of making a remarkably direct and straightforward, levelheaded record.
There’s no over the top grandeur here. He doesn’t have the vocalists complain about all the wrongs other people have done to him, and he doesn’t play relentlessly furious music that sounds like he just aimed his drumsticks at his set while fed up or angry. He’s instead chosen to explore that space in between where we are and where we want to be, which can at times feel like a void packed to the brim with questions. The music feels substantively meditative, and often, the lyrics relate contemplation on rather specific subjects.
Just like this isn’t just some angst-driven output whose relevance is short lived, Jon has avoided the temptation to be overly whimsical and craft songs that are both musically and thematically vague. He’s confronted everything from the troubles he’s apparently faced in his life to the specific musical inspirations he’s developed, and we’re all the better because he’s chosen this path.
The full record releases January 11. Its tracks include:
- Would You Save Me Now (Feat. Aaron Marsh of Copeland)
- Grey’s Gift (Feat. Brennan Taulbee of Polyenso)
- Lesson Learned In Seconds (Feat. Donovan Melero of Hail the Sun)
- Take The Next Step (Feat. Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter)
- Drifting Towards the Sun (Feat. Kerry Courtney of Goodnight Neverland)
- Show You The Stars (Feat. Keith Goodwin of Good Old War)
- Hang Em High (Feat. Nate Barcalow of Finch)
- Take Me Up (Feat. Michael McGough of Being As An Ocean)
- Drinking And Cleaning (Feat. Nathan Hussey of All Get Out)
- Flat Line (Feat. Tanner Merritt of O’Brother)
- Same Old Song (Feat. Tilian Pearson of Dance Gavin Dance)
Listen below via Bandcamp