Following in the tradition of artists like Elliott Smith and Nick Drake, Gregory Alan Isakov has the ineffable ability to convey a wide variety of emotions without ever raising his voice above a whisper. Save for "Dandelion Wine," in which his poetic croon soars just slightly above understated strings and keys, Isakov's voice is tucked neatly into the mix for much of the record, particularly on songs such as "Big Black Car," the album's standout. With a stellar backing ensemble and vocals from Brandi Carlile, Isakov shines. With the exception of the radio-friendly cut "Evelyn," which is weighed down somewhat by its predictability, Hemisphere succeeds at being mysterious and complicated without deviating much from the blueprint that Isakov is so close to perfecting.
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