Be weary when a singer/songwriter claims to mix a wide variety of styles from R&B and hip-hop to pop and spoken word. There’s usually a shark sandwich about to be served.
However, this is not the case with Australia’s Nick de la Hoyde. This 20-year-old does manage to mix multiple styles effortlessly on his debut EP Passion. The single, the wisely chosen “The Longest Way,” is a wonderful blend of all that is tolerable about contemporary hit radio. It’s Drake meets OneRepublic without sounding forced. The chorus is gorgeous and makes the listener long for more singing and less rapping though the latter provides a nice counterpoint. The other tracks work nearly as well, and while they’re not filler or weak sisters, “The Longest Way” is far and away the standout.
“By My Side” is a bit more soulful as De La Hoyde harmonizes nicely with himself. It has a nice backing hook but doesn’t quite make the leap to hit single status. “Aces” too has some bright spots, but the mishmash is a little taxing and its here you wish he’d settle on a groove and stick with it.
The title track could probably be the second single, more smoothly blending the hip-hop vibe with a synth-pop hook, which could have used more exposure. The rhythm tracks really hold the whole thing together and keeps things moving.
Passion certainly accomplishes its mission. It’s just a shame that it’s a little top-heavy. That being said the potential is definitely there, and many acts have had solid careers churning out strong singles and de la Hoyde certainly seems to have that capability.
7 Stars out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.