Prison Escapee – “Locket” and “Au Revoir”
Erik David Hidde’s journey has carried him from the independent New York City music scene to Southern California where his project, Prison Escapee, promises to turn some ears with its effortless directness and ample imagination. These are not cheerful musical landscapes, but that shouldn’t imply they are despairing compositions or musically limited – the lyrics might explore themes of loss and regret, but there’s a rich humanity conveyed in both “Locket” and “Au Revoir” that opens up their dramatic potential and he achieves remarkable instances of diversity over a duo of songs many other artists and bands are hard pressed to maintain over an EP’s length of work. The electronic aspects of his work are undoubtedly key to its final success or failure, but he’s never at loss for melodic strength and other instruments make their presence felt in the release. Hidde takes an overall even handed approach to these songs while managing to achieve much different effects with each of them.
Hidde’s talents for conjuring convincing post-rock are given a chance to shine bright on the first song “Locket” thanks to the combination of a thumping synth line along with strong, though judicious, rhythm section attack. Light echo cloaks Hidde’s singing, but there’s a forcefulness coming through in his approach that’s difficult to pin down as anything except sensitively arranged post rock vocals. The song never really crescendos in a traditional sense and, instead, simmers at a steady near peak throughout. Those used to bridges, choruses, and solos announcing themselves might feel a little challenged by the lack of these conventional elements, but “Locket” is a thoroughly satisfying affair. It creates its own sort of dynamics and tension – it’s a song whose rewards are reaped by choosing to truly listen.
“Au Revoir” is a much more recognizably conventional experience, both instrumentally and in construction, but finding Prison Escapee meandering a more familiar landscape never means that he panders to those traditions. Much like the earlier track, albeit in a different way, The piano melody guiding this song is given additional uplift from more of the expertly deployed percussion and bass heard in the earlier track. Washes of synth color are much more restrained here but neatly fill in any space. Much like the earlier song, Prison Escapee shows a real penchant for writing songs that truly breathe, yet possess undeniable substance. These tracks are decidedly different sonically, but they share common ground of intent and the same guiding artistic sensibility is clearly steering each composition.”Locket” and “Au Revoir” are top notch examples of what some performers, patrolling the margins of the indie music scene, are capable of today.