(Love Da Records)
Maximillian Hecker started his solo music career as a busker in Berlin and it's hard to imagine him being heard above the cacophony of noise one usually hears on city streets.
The 31-year-old German singer-songwriter's style is that of a breathy whisper with the music more an accompaniment to his voice than something that makes a statement in its own right. Somehow, though, Hecker's delicacy was heard and the music world is all the better for it. While you may not get many laughs on a Hecker album, you do get an atmosphere and presence few can muster.
Though Hecker claims to be more interested in bliss than sadness his titles give more than a hint to his outlook: Misery, This Poison Called Love and Summerwaste are a few of the more obvious examples, yet his style is never dreary.
In the vein of Jose Gonzalez, it's a reflective world that explores the extreme of emotions, albeit ones usually on the more unhappy end of the scale. Misery has a rocky electric guitar edge and has Hecker belting out the chorus, while This Poison Called Love is more in tune with the rest of the album's somnolent feel to a sweet melancholy enhanced with gentle piano and dreamy string arrangements.
A similar treatment achieves touching results on The Space That You're In.
Here at last we have an answer to the ubiquitous simple love songs of James Blunt in the form of a man some have hailed as a reincarnated Jeff Buckley. Hallelujah.