June 15, 2003

William Hut "Road Star Doolittle"

While the future of Poor Rich Ones may seem uncertain, their vocalist, William Hut, has set out on a little solo diversion of his own. Though I'm not really sure what's up with his band, I'm glad he's stepped out, because, like the recently-released Joe Maynard's Favourites, this is a lovely little record. Unlike Poor Rich Ones, Hut's own work is stripped down, acoustic-flavored, but it's very much the work of the same mind that gave the world Happy Happy Happy.

In Poor Rich Ones, Hut's voice is a shivering-cold Britpop-influenced castrado that soars high over loud guitars and a rock melody, but on Road Star Doolittle, he's pretty much by himself. Good thing, too, because it's about time that he took the time to highlight what's clearly his strongest asset. At times, songs like "Scarlet, "Belonging" and "Dulcinea" don't sound like they'd be too out of place on a Poor Rich Ones record. Other songs, such as "Wood Floors," "A Better View," and "Country Hut" are downcast, melancholy country songs not unlike Mazzy Star or Stoned and Dethroned-era Jesus and Mary Chain.

Road Star Doolittle is a lovely, albeit brief, little collection of songs from an artist who deserves to be more than obscure. William Hut has, without a doubt, one of the best voices in music today, and it's a shame that he's gone unnoticed for so long. Road Star Doolittle might not be the record to make him a superstar, it shows that his singing voice is no slouch. Whether or not there's another Poor Rich Ones record in the future, it's good to know that Hut can easily cut it on his own.

--Joseph Kyle

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