Colorful guitars that dance like fireworks in the Independence Day sky dot the backdrop that listeners are privy to upon entering “Reflection,” the latest single from Hoffman, but they aren’t alone in the magical array of sonic wonderment that the song is comprised of. They’re joined by a vocal from Hoffman that whisks us away from reality to an ethereal state of mind, a gentle rhythm that recalls the harder rock of the grunge era at its prime, and a bouncy bassline that warms up the chilling percussive sway, to name a few of the more dazzling components to behold.
Lyrically the track is inviting, but insular in prose; Hoffman seems reserved here, hesitantly serenading us with a bit of melancholy in his voice that alludes to much bigger thoughts on his mind than what is actually being discussed in the poetry. Amidst all of the energy that overtakes us as we progress over the glossy beats and into the crux of this single’s catharsis, we’re given the chance to see the world through our singer’s eyes, and perhaps more importantly, through the unclouded lens of his heart.
The string play here is immensely magnetic, challenging the vocal for dominance in the big picture but refuting the opportunity to smother it in all of its brimming lush colors. Even with Hoffman imparting the most emotional verses we’ve heard from him to date, the guitar parts in “Reflection” have just as much to say to us, just as much of a story to tell, and frankly, just as many emotions to lay out on the floor before our feet.
While I’ve been impressed with the mature songwriting in his scene over the past, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player on his level put this much work into the essence of his instrumentation, which in this scenario is just as much of a centerpiece as the lyrical content itself is. The dynamic doesn’t necessarily change the critical consensus on Hoffman’s intriguing brand of indie rock but rather shifts the narrative more towards acknowledging his virtuosic skill as a composer. He’s not just penning bittersweet alternative rock here; he’s giving us a raw piece of his soul.
“Reflection” is a lovely single with a lot of crossover appeal for fans of pop, rock, and even industrial music, and though it’s stylistically much more elaborate than past efforts from Hoffman, it holds to the disciplined principles that have consistently made his work irresistible to serious audiophiles. I don’t think he’s peaked yet, but this is absolutely representative of a higher level of consciousness that he’s grown into as an artist, and he wears the look well. His emerging work has already been starting a small fire among the underground music media this year, and anyone who was on the fence about picking up a copy should check out this track for a more than a modest preview of what it has in store for us.
I know that I won’t be missing out on anything that this talented man has to share with us for anything, and I think other critics are going to join me in that mission as well.
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