Last Train Home is the second solo effort from Icelandic Kalli – aka Karl Henry Hákonarson, former frontman of Without Gravity. Whilst not strictly a country record, the dark folky-pop album is at home with its bluesy riffs, not to mention harmonica moments. After just one listen, it’s very apparent the album was recorded in Nashville.
Reykjavic born Kalli’s voice has the warmth and tone of Jason Mraz with the captivation and melody of John Mayer. He also manages to pull off Mayer’s guitar tone. It’s like sunsets and rainbows for your ears.
Nothing At All is quite repetitive, but it only enforces the dark melody and moody lyrics. By contrast, Shine On Me is a far more positive, dreamy tune. With backing vocals from former Without Gravity bandmate Hallgrímur Hallgrímsson and a decoration of harmonica-led melody, Shine On Me falls somewhere in between Bruce Springsteen and John Mayer, via Ben Harper.
Title track Last Train Home is a sweet, inoffensive song, with a typical country riff. The melody allows the mind to wander to country meadows with long grass and buttercups. Or any idyllic place really.
Lullaby is just as it suggests with opening line ‘hush little baby don’t you cry’ and is a beautifully mesmerising combination of acoustic guitar and strings. Certainly a fitting wedding song. Or funeral song – depending upon one’s lyrical interpretation.
As a whole, Last Train Home is very American pop, with hints of ballads. It’s certainly recommended for fans of contemporary country music with a bit of soul. In particular, fans of the aforementioned Harper, Mayer and Mraz, as well as pop artists like Gavin De Graw and James Morrison would benefit a listen in. It’s one of those well produced albums (we have Kurt Storey to thank for that) which seems to pass 45 minutes without a striking track imbalance or shift of mood. Not one for the gym, but perfect to unwind to after a hard day at the office.