REVIEW: Hēran Soun — Undeaf (LP)

Indie music just keeps getting better and better. One of the most interesting artists to hit the scene is James Freeman-Turner, also known as Hēran Soun. I use the word artist before describing him as singer/songwriter mostly because like a painter, his use of colorful, untamed sounds is like nothing I’ve heard before. Not even close. The new album Undeaf is riddled with strange behaviors that miraculously come together to make perfect sense.


Of the 11 tracks, none spoke to me like the songs “A Picture Of A Woman”, “The Same Battle (So Close) and “Let Me Go”. These three gems are nothing alike, other than they are very weird. Hēran Soun is not of this planet. He really creates amazing, drawn-out sounds that are revelations. In “A Picture Of A Woman” the pulsating music inches along, Hēran Soun’s voice is deep, but it can also be higher pitched. Tell me what turns you on, he sings. “The Same Battles (So Close)” has twinkling piano keys, that open up into a far-off electric guitar riff. Hēran Soun holds the first word ‘so’ for what feels like hours. You can hear the trembling in his voice. He’s easy to spot in the recording studio — his eyes must be closed. He’s so utterly in-tuned with the words and the feeling of the music. It’s chilling. He loops his vocals just a bit, but not enough to feel like a distraction. Goose pimples. Simply, goose pimples.

In “Let Me Go” the foggy, alluring music bed sends even more shivers down the spine. Hēran Soun has a way of gathering his words, leaving spaces between words. You hold on longer, you’re on the edge of your seat. As a listener, it didn’t give me anxiety, it gave me peace. It was like I was healing. He’s very poetic and the cadence in his voice, yes it takes a moment to get used to, gives the added texture and excitement to the listening experience. He unearths so much in so many different ways in the songs on Undeaf, that it is hard to create a narrative. What you can glean from his songs is that he’s a very contemplative soul. He’s an artist that puts his heart on his sleeve and he’s challenged himself to create colors that have never been discovered.

I’d like to give a special nod to the instrumental track “Bad & Worse”. I felt the rhythm in my hands, I was able to transport myself into this new arena and ecosystem. Hēran Soun’s fabric is warm and perplexing. I really wanted to visit in that head space.

Hēran Soun’s life journey started out with hearing complications. He spent most of his childhood deaf, and has since regained his hearing. In addition to promoting Undeaf, Hēran Soun is currently touring across the country playing in front of closed music venues. His goal is to raise awareness for the ‘save our stages bill’ (#SAVEOURSTAGES). His tour began in Maine and ends in Seattle, Washington.

Colin Jordan




Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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Colin Jordan

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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