Acoustic guitar players
get bored easily. Electric guitar players can create a whole lifetime of material without ever seriously indulging in an acoustic- a
song here, a ballad there, perhaps, but nothing too serious.
After hardly more than two albums, most acoustic guitar players switch to an electric guitar, or at least put a band
behind them. Elliott Smith did it after two full-lengths and an EP, Dashboard Confessional did it after two full-lengths and
two EPs, and now Bleeding Heart's Melody is doing it after one full-length and an EP. The difference between the changes was
that Smith's was neutral (he was still brilliant), Dashboard's was horrible, and BHM's is excellent.
The previous album I heard from BHM was an incoherent mess of insecure vocals, meandering song structures, and passable
lyrics. Tim Bouchard (otherwise known as Bleeding Heart's Melody or BHM) has significantly refined his craft here, as these
songs have genuine purpose and the vocals retain clarity throughout.
The best example of this new-found security is in the title track "Exhale Life". The song builds from a
humble beginning on an acoustic through piano-augmented verses to a chorus that ranks among the best he's ever written. As the drums pound over a solid bass sound and an acoustic churn, an electric guitar
sings out, and Bouchard cries out emphatically "There's no more hurting! No pain anymore!" He had me convinced.