It's a Pity if You Pass This Album By
Posted March 24, 2013
It's a Pity You Couldn't Stay is the debut release from Nate Hambrick's project, entitled "287." Hambrick, along with his brother Levi, was formerly a part of Karpenter's Kids, a band which gained a significant amount of notability through the Internet, catching the attention of acts such as Thousand Foot Krutch, Falling Up, and I AM EMPIRE.
Although Hambrick decided to leave Karpenter's Kids last year in order to pursue a different career, he did not give up his passion for music. Working with his brother, he recorded and produced a stellar 10-track album. The album artwork for It's a Pity You Couldn't Stay screams excellence, and offers the viewer a deeply mysterious insight into the album's theme. The album, in keeping with its lyrical and titular theme, holds a melancholic undertone in a non-overt fashion.
Pity opens with an introductory song that closes with the line "if brokenness is all I need, I'll give myself all away," which sets the lyrical mood for the album. The title track (It's a Pity You Couldn't Stay) is the first 'real' offering of the album. The song is strong, and kicks off the album's story by dealing with the concept of lost love and broken hearts: "the sun stopped shining down as my lover walked away; it's a pity you couldn't stay." Although the track has an upbeat sound, it contains passionate lyrics dealing with hurt and sadness. The album continues to roll along with the tracks Sing Along and I'll Let You Go, both of which are solid tracks, but neither of which stand out on the album.
Hambrick's faith is made apparent in many of the tracks, including Somehow Understood, with lyrics such as "You are the Potter, I am the clay; I finally figured out that it's best this way," on showing his acceptance of God's plan over his own desires. The sixth track, Gone Away, is probably Pity's strongest offering, with a somber atmosphere surrounding the song that ties in well with the album artwork. Hambrick sings "I'm filled with regret about you; all I'm searching for is the beginning of something new," which echoes a deep amount of emotion and sadness. The song has a unique texture to it and flows very well, with a simply gorgeous melody.
Life is Good holds its own weight, but seems to pass by unnoticed. Personally, I feel that this track as a whole sounds too similar to Adam Young's Owl City. Where Love Is Confined is an extremely well-done song with a simple and catchy melody. The lyrics are brilliant ("Am I searching for someone who doesn't exist? There's a piece to this puzzle I seem to have missed, so I wait for you to come. My life is a prison, where love is confined, and my heart is a failure when you are not mine. My soul screams out when I'm alone"), and the song seems to have been made for radio (a positive aspect, in this instance).
The album "technically" closes with It's Complicated…, a song which does well to wrap up the album's story with the closing line, "From the day we first met, until the day of goodbye, I will never forget that loving look in your eye." A piano version of I'll Let You Go is also included on the album, which is a significant step up from the original version. This version better conveys the reflective atmosphere of the song, and does a good job of emotionally wrapping up what Hambrick has to say with "what if I disappear, would anybody know I'm here when everything is crashing down on me? You are the one that makes me smile when everything is broken and everything is falling apart." With this statement of faith, the album draws to a very satisfactory close.
Overall, I easily give this album a 7.5/10 rating. If you're a fan of Owl City, An Epic No Less, The Afters, or synth-based music in general, you'll probably love this album. Being more of a rock fan myself, Pity isn't exactly my bread and butter, but there's a handful of tracks on here that were dropped into my 'top songs' playlist. The album clocks in at about 40 minutes, which is an enjoyable length. There could be more variety in sound, but ultimately, this is an amazing debut from 287. Although every song is solid, Gone Away, Where Love is Confined, and I'll Let You Go (Piano Version) are the tracks most worth listening to.
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