Expanding on the freewheeling rustic tones introduced to us with the extended play Sad & Silly, Mount Hudson returns with “Write a Book,” a new single that exploits the best of the David Yim-designed solo project’s unique hybrid of alternative pop and classic folk/rock. On the strength of a rollicking beat alone, “Write a Book” comes strutting out of the darkness with a reckless abandon that is infectious and inspiring, especially within the context of today’s smothering robotic pop music. Produced with a great deal of care and sporting one of the most decadent vocal harmonies of the New Year, Mount Hudson’s latest release is a worthy contribution to the ever-evolving folk music genre.
The rhythm of “Write a Book” is ridiculously catchy from the get-go, but the hook that makes it so fun doesn’t come off as artificial in the least. Tempered by the airy vocals, the somewhat glassy percussion clatters against a soft, guitar-driven soundscape of thriving strings and subtle bass. Lyrically the song is structured relatively simply, but upon closer examination the relationship between the verses and the arrangement of the instrumentation becomes a focal point of our attention. Every poetic texture created by Yim’s voice is mirrored in the ascending string melody, and vice versa, making the track feel surprisingly more orchestral than poppy in nature.
With the addition of extra strings in the harmony that washes over the chorus, “Write a Book” is able to develop a very homespun feel that automatically sets it apart from the contrived hipster folk fodder that has been so dominant in the American underground over the last decade. There isn’t anything here to stylistically tie it to some larger artistic conglomerate or scene, and I would even go as far as to say that Yim takes several measures to ensure as much. The irreverence of sardonic anti-folk is absent and replaced with a glowing earnestness that is both refreshing and remarkably relatable in this setting.
David Yim is very patient in his lyrical execution here, which contrasts heavily (and frankly, beautifully) with the pushy pace of the music itself. He’s content to dispense his words with a swagger that is at complete odds with the underlying urgency in the beat, almost as if to say that he’s going to take whatever this life throws his way in stride, regardless of how fast the world is turning. He displays more self-control here than he did in Sad & Silly, leading me to the conclusion that he’s absolutely getting better with age and experience.
Whether you’re a diehard folkie or just a casual pop fan who enjoys pastoral acoustic music now and again, Mount Hudson’s latest single is sweet and sophisticated enough for both the discriminating music aficionado and the novice radio-junkie alike. Coming out of what is inarguably one of the most diverse music scenes in the world can make it pretty tough for any artist to make a noteworthy impression, no matter how talented they are, but this Brooklynite’s sound is one that demands a reaction out of even the coldest of critics. He’s still got some room for growth, but this is undoubtedly Mount Hudson’s best work to date.