Prison Escapee – “Au Revoir” and “Locket”
Prison Escapee, the moniker of singer/songwriter/musician Erik David Hidde, has made a substantial impact in the brief time it has been an active project and has garnered considerable critical plaudits from all the right quarters. Hidde is a Los Angeles transplant who, after two years running is own label Housewarming Records, opted to relocate from the environs of the Big Apple in favor of Southern California’s sunny climate. The geographical switch has done nothing for the songwriting mood on his latest singles “Au Revoir” and “Locket”. The melancholy electronic rock that has been this project’s mainstay since it first began recording remains its predominant emotional stance, but it retains immense quality despite its relatively downcast mood. Both of his new singles, “Au Revoir” and “Locket”, challenge listeners in all the best ways and make an impression lingering long after the final notes fade.
“Locket”, begins life with a steady synthesizer throb. This relatively extended introduction is joined by alternating accompaniment from bass and percussion, There’s a slowly developing melody that takes full shape soon after Hidde’s vocal enters the picture. Despite the artfully elusive quality of his vocal, there’s never the same sort of vagueness permeating his lyrical content. Hidde’s talents as a writer manages a great balancing act – they are much more dialogue than narrative and speak in generalities everyone will relate to. His use of atmospherics isn’t ever gratuitous. It comes across as an intensely chromatic use of just a few musical elements. The arrangement maintains a consistent meditative vibe throughout the course of song, but never tires the listeners patience with its sub three minute running time.
“Au Revoir” has a much more conventional sound from the beginning. There’s a decidedly elegiac approach surrounding the song thanks to its use of piano while it shares the same sparse instrumentation as the previous number. There’s a touch of the synthesizer playing a much more secondary role to the piano work, but Hidde keeps the same keen eye on balance here that sets his songwriting apart on the earlier track. It’s a much more conventional number vocally and, like the music, there isn’t the same emphasis on evocative production marking “Locket” and the ache in his voice is palpable. It’s a tale of woe, but valediction as well – a genuine sensitivity fills the lyrics and vocal phrasing. Prison Escapee is certainly a worthwhile vehicle for Hidde’s talents and these two songs show diversity many other modern outfits and musicians can’t match. This is highly individual and artistic yet speaking with an emotional honesty that cuts through any hint of artifice. “Locket” and “Au Revoir” conclusively prove new music continues being released that challenges any notions of popular song resisting revolution.