Chicago-based singer songwriter Luke Underhill has partnered with producer Mikal Blue (known for his work with Colbie Callait and Jason Mraz) for his 7-song EP The Left Side, out August 18. The release follows two self-released projects from 2015, Atlas and Atlas Unplugged, along with a 2016 self-produced single, “Too Good for Me”.
The Left Side explores a realm of young love and loss with the 21-one-year old musician delivering fairly simplistic lyrics, yet nonetheless catchy songs. Within each piece, there are moments of artistry embodied with potential that will undoubtedly blossom with age and experience.
The album opens on an almost misleading note with the single “I’ll Be Waiting”. The fullness and rhythm of the opening guitar line possess a country vibe, full of energy and drive topped with Underhill’s rough and husky vocals; although listening through the rest of the album, “country” is not an accurate genre to attach to Underhill’s sound. In some ways, it’s an odd choice for a first single, but it’s an easy listen filled with pop sensibilities understandably making it a popular choice among fans.
The following two songs, while both optimistically upbeat instrumentally, are straightforward anecdotes of lost love. “Left Side” tells a sweetly sober story of the loneliness of sleeping in an empty bed while staying hopeful that the bed won’t be empty for long. “Goodbye Mary Jane”, which opens with a pretty piano line, similarly explores the pain of falling in love and having to let go.
The album slows down a bit with “Wish”. The ballad showcases Underhill’s higher register. His tone is crisp and clear over the melodic lines of the piano, listing all his romantic desires and dreams. The loving sentiments continue with “Something”, a peppy listicle of attributes Underhill finds endearing in his significant other.
A cheering crowd bleeds into the piano groove opening to “I Want to Make You Dance”. The song is full of uplifting energy and cute lines for teen girls to swoon over such as “All I want is my hands on your hips/ for a moment/ to sweep you off your feet.” The piano lines and tender lyrics stay strong as the album closes out with “Stars”. It’s a sweet note to end on, the perfect mix of passion and hope.
Luke Underhill’s next performance will be on Friday, August 18th at The Law Office Pub & Music Hall in Yorkville, IL.