The fourth album from this one-man band (born Paul Hiraga) continues the lush, atmospheric style that has won him international praise and several awards. Fall in love again to the dreamy pop of opener, “All The Ghosts Will Talk,” which reminds me favorably of Freedy Johnson. Ukelele and acoustic guitar drive “Chelsea Turnaround” into your skull, where the loose, country-rock groove of America, Flying Burritos and retro practitioners, Maplewood float effortlessly across the room. Elsewhere, gorgeous harmonies, sweeping pedal steel (courtesy Maggie Bjorklund), and soaring piano flourishes combine to create one of the richest sounding recordings I’ve heard all year.
Hiraga takes a few breaks from the wall of sound production for some intimate, acoustic story-songs like the sorrowful weepers, “The Regrade” and “Carry The Water” and the reflective, “Flicker.” Overall, his taste of Americana coupled with a love of 70’s country rock updated in his self-constructed analogue studio gives each of these tracks a warmth and hazy glow that is rare in this antiseptic, digitalized world – and more power to him. If only more albums were recorded this well, there’d still be hope for new exciting music on the 21st century. That the songs are catchy as hell and all sound like there’s an entire band huddling alongside Hiraga (who played almost everything – acoustic/electric/lap steel guitars, drums, electric and acoustic pianos, Farfisas and Hammonds, and the occasional ukulele and banjo) is all the more reason to jump on the bandwagon and discover one of the year’s finest surprises and best releases. If you’re a fan of Freedy Johnson, Matt Keating, Jakob Dylan, Wilco, or Neil Young’s acoustic period, this is the album you need to have in your collection. But after four albums of unparalleled quality, Hiraga deserves to be lauded on his own behalf, so those comparisons are strictly to entice the uninitiated. 9/10 -- Jeff Penczak (28 October, 2009)