The hopeful “Drowning” calls for healing amidst racial hatred. “I’m Going Home” conveys the emotional struggle of a young boy coping with the death of his mother, who he calls his “best friend.” Painful farewells occur in various romantic contexts as well, but usually displaying tenderness and affection for the other person rather than anger or despair (“Goodbye,” “Hannah Jane,” “Look Away”). With a passion found throughout this disc, “Not Even the Trees” ponders life without a love who has passed on.
Drug and alcohol use shows up on “Let Her Cry.” Unfortunately, one profanity taints “Drowning”‘s anti-racism message.
These few, yet significant caveats spoil an otherwise fine effort by a hot debut act. Gritty vocals bring to mind Bruce Springsteen. In the future, maybe Hootie will reflect and avoid mirroring the few mistakes of Cracked Rear View.