Harry Hookey is a name that is probably not familiar to most people. Yet. The Melbourne-bred singer-songwriter makes a very strong first impression with his debut album Misdiagnosed. The 12-track collection shows talent and musical maturity that is highly advanced for a first record and will likely put Hookey’s name on the tongues of music fans everywhere.
From busking on the streets of Melbourne to playing strip clubs in New Orleans to Festivals in Nashville and Tamworth, Hookey exudes a musical resemblance to a young Bob Dylan, who he cites as one of his main influences. Described quite accurately as a reflection of various tastes mixed together, “somewhere between James Taylor and Nirvana” by the man himself, Hookey’s style is a unique blend of alternative folk, punctuated by heavier punk and rock influences.
Hookey’s sound is somewhat reminiscent to that of Passenger, who stormed onto the scene massively last year with the huge hit Let Her Go. In my opinion the industry needs more honest and emotionally charged music like that of these folk-based artists and Misdiagnosed is a breath of fresh air.
Beginning with the first single, Man On Fire, Hookey’s music is interesting and refreshing – full of emotion and spark. The roughed-up blend of punk-influenced folk music is catchy and impressive, hooking the listener in from the very first track.
The next track Sometimes will have you cursing Hookey for being so catchy, but he’s forgiven for how simplistic yet brilliant the song is. The almost distorted sound of Hookey’s voice in this song gives it a raw and dark vibe but that is balanced by the upbeat instrumental riffs.
Hookey’s lyrical game is strong throughout the record, and was recognised by the judges of the International Songwriter’s Competition who gave him the first place prize in the unsigned category for the album’s title track Misdiagnosed in 2012.
Around the middle of the album is the positive and hopeful Audrey’s Song, which showcases Hookey’s folk roots with its simple yet beautiful lyrics and melody – a summation of the entire album’s premise. That theme is continued throughout into the final track Last True Believer, which starts slowly in A Capella form before progressing into a more rich and textured track accompanied by a smooth and sharp instrumental background.
Harry Hookey’s Misdiagnosed is the musical equivalent of a pep talk and a hug from an old friend – the perfect company for fans of all genres. “I hope my songs resonate with every kind of music lover on some level…I feel very privileged to be in a position of possibly being able to bring some form of happiness or comfort to someone”, Harry has said. Hookey should be proud of his new album, which has managed to accomplish what he set out for and more.