Someone to Tell

After four years of touring colleges and clubs and releasing an independent album, Ari Hest is making his major-label debut with "Someone to Tell." With the experience he has gained from performing li

After four years of touring colleges and clubs and releasing an independent album, Ari Hest is making his major-label debut with "Someone to Tell." With the experience he has gained from performing live, Hest knows how to structure his acoustic-based rockers so that toes will tap. This makes the set upbeat and radio accessible. However, the material needs more developing—the 12 cuts here, although pleasant, are repetitious in arrangement and tone. But Hest does possess talent and charm. The 24-year-old has a slightly raspy baritone that's as worldly as men twice his age. Even though its lyrics reflect fear and paranoia, "They're on to Me" is a happy romp that recalls Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy." The song is a smart choice for the album's lead single. That said, country-pop jam "Aberdeen" deserves to be a hit. The track's yearning feel and gotta-get-out-of-this-town message hints at the songwriting depths that Hest is capable of.—CLT