Reviews

Hala Uses Red Herring to Go Beyond Genre

Hala on Selective Memory

Hala on Selective Memory

Hala
Red Herring
Cinematic Music Group

Links: Official Site | Cinematic Music Group

Although Detroit-based musician Ian Ruhala does not follow the strict confines of late 1970s/early 1980s AOR musicianship, his songwriting capabilities hold up with that sincere era as a singer/songwriter in the purest of senses. Yet beyond this analogy, Hala’s knack for modern indie pop postering is equally as strong.

With the bouncy single, “Why Do You Want Anything To Do With Me?,” his view of the idea of purpose is exemplary.

“Lyrically I drew from headlines and stories regarding non-violent criminal offenders,” says Ruhala. “This discussion has come to a head in recent years with the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana use around the United States. This further enticed me to learn more about the push for prison reform, and justice for the wrongly convicted. This song is my attempt to critique the societal stigma that seems to be placed upon these people.”

His view of society from an individualist standpoint surfaces throughout the release. The Detroit style in his exploratory imagination of “We Can Start Again” builds grittiness to art of the ballad. The sound may not be of this time, but to what time exactly, who is to say.

The delicate and relaxed nature of “Making Me Nervous” sounds like a contradiction but all ties together into a beautiful bundle of philosophical pondering. Compare that to the title track and you can see Ruhala’s versatility, especially when he blends up McCartney pop with 1970s southern rock.

Hala’s new album is not grounded in any sense of genre, yet his songs feel like they belong to the psyche of the listener. He has a wide-eyed perspective that gives room for contemplation. For a studio debut, and an experience built on his own personal and creative facets, Ruhala carries an open mind to his pop conceptions.

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