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  • Writer's pictureGloria Tang

Hemisphere's New Album Unity

Hemisphere’s Unity is the second album in the act’s American Dreams trilogy. The five-piece will release the final installment, Power to the People, in 2024. The music on this one is slew of jazzy pop.

Listen to the album here:

One song that grabs your immediate attention is a cover of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel,” which is sung and played like an easygoing island holiday song. It certainly doesn’t feel especially rebellious. “Bring The Magic Back,” however, is far more jazz-oriented. Featuring group vocals and prominent electric piano, this one rolls to a lightly funky groove. In addition to an electric piano solo, this latter track also incorporates a big brass section. Furthermore, it spotlights a soulful female vocal vamp toward track’s end.

In stark contrast to what precedes it, “Mr. Moonbeam,” although slightly swinging, kicks off with a string quartet intro before going into a male vocal with female backing singers. Its lyric is ultra-romantic, and all about the way the moon, with its natural bright beams, always seems to involve itself in love and romance. Rob Shinno who also produced this album and plays guitar throughout, wrote its lyrics and sings lead on it and the other eleven album tracks.

While much of the music on the album is beat-driven, one titled “Open Your Eyes” leans decidedly towards the quiet side. Also featuring strings, it has a rather sad lyric that comments reflectively on the darkness in our current world. The album’s very title, Unity, argues against all the fighting sung about during this song. The instrumentation is also highlighted by some classical sounding acoustic guitar. “Shadowland” is another softer number. It includes a horn solo, acoustic piano and a heartfelt vocal.

With “Younger Days,” which is driven by strummed acoustic guitar, Hemisphere sounds a bit more like a folk-rock outfit. Its words speak nostalgically about days of youth. Rebecca Jade’s backing vocals make her sound much like Rob Shinno’s duet partner during many parts of this breezy song of remembrance. “The One” is an upbeat, (once again) jazzy piece. Its lyric is hopeful and optimistic, a little like a self help pop song, if you will.

The moon plays again in the music during “Laura In The Moonlight.” However, this time its lyric is more about the girl (Laura) than the moon. It is a song about a woman making positive changes in her life. The track ends with the sounds of birds chirping.

The very next song, “Find Your Way Home,” seems to be a song directed towards Lauras of the world that haven’t discovered the best direction in life. With its upfront horns and group vocals, it has a spiritual, church choir-like feel. Is its rainbow reference a synonym for god? Could be. If not, it also preaches a kind of positive change model for living.

Possibly to foreshadow the third release in this trilogy, the album closes with the up tempo “Power To The People.” It’s sung and played with a bit of a Latin flavor, before going into a slower section at the end. It’s not an angry chant song, but a song all about hope that comes from when people live in unity. And unity, after all, is what this album is mostly all about.


-Dan MacIntosh


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