The album just landed but Got Him! By Ethan Tasch is already a 2023 OMI favorite. Tasch’s blend of folk and pop is soothing and catchy. Tasch has toured a bit as a guitarist for other acts and yet what stands out about the guitar work in this album is how subtle the licks and inevitable hooks are arranged. It’s definitely something that stands out on the album, but it’s done in such a way that the listener feels like the guitar is something they are unearthing his brilliance. Then there is Tasch’s vocals. His sound is his own. There’s a conversational element to his vocal styling. It’s nice that he doesn’t attempt to add a twang (even when he’s accompanying a steel guitar) to his sound. It’s also nice that his voice isn’t buried in layers of reverb as is popular with a lot of indie folk artists. The result is a fresh sound that doesn’t get in the way of the conversation.
The album opens with the song “He’s Getting Away!” The music unfolds slowly. First guitar, then steel guitar, and then banjo. The blend is sparse but lovely. The song appears to be about misguided individual concern for someone who is on the run perhaps from abuse (key are the lyrics “used to know him with the back of my hand”). The song serves as a great opening track in that it’s catchy and it sets up the topic on the second song perfectly.
The second track “Holdup” opens with a slightly muted guitar riff that feels familiar and launches the listener into the album’s most upbeat track. The slight distortion on Tasch’s vocals work well. The video lends great insight to the song. The video is of Tasch jogging while dawning running apparel that immediately recalls Michael Cera’s in his role as Paulie Bleeker in the movie Juno. Where the opening song sets someone running, “Holdup” is about finding the energy and strength to stand up and like Bleeker run through the things that make you feel stuck. This is the song that you’re most likely to hear streaming somewhere and for good reason. We’ve added “Holdup” to our playlist.
The sixth track, “Cone Onn” is a clever turn of phrase on a one-night stand and chasing the beautiful girl. More precisely it’s the draw of doing the same thing repeatedly. The production on this, and all the songs really, is so clean and unrushed. This one is a bit of an earworm. You will be humming this to yourself throughout the day.
The songs in between are so important to a good album. Tasch has done a fine job and listeners will enjoy “Love and Japan” a song about long distance love and “Shell” which plays on a recurring theme in this album of being stuck. The song that caught our attention was “Present.” It’s only a minute and 46 seconds long, but it’s a real charmer. We could go for hearing the chorus a few more times. Be sure to go back and listen to this one a few times.
Most of Tasch’s time on the road over the last few years has been playing guitar for other acts. With this album he’s positioned himself to hit the road and sing his music. We’ll be looking for him when he comes to Dallas!