Navigating the ridges of a stirring rhythm in “Your Story,” it becomes clear to the listener early on in this selection from Let the Light In, Vol. 2 that we’re not dealing with the Chris Donohoe of the 2010s anymore. This singer/songwriter isn’t much for the flashiness of his mainstream rivals, and when given the opportunity he tends to travel the minimalism route more than he ever does the indulgence-laden path of his indie brethren.
Getting up and telling an audience what you think about life and everyone in it is something reserved for poets and comedians exclusively anymore, but in Let the Light In, Vol. 2, Donohoe reminds us that this was once the role of the American singer/songwriter, whose most pastoral of statements often amounts to the most personal of snapshots we have to understand humanity. “Your Story” is just what its title would suggest it could be and something even a bit further reaching; it presents an artist giving us annotations on life as only he can understand it, and they’re ironically not that much different from how we would have already perceived our surroundings.
Though a lot of Let the Light In, Vol. 2 feels like it’s being composed from a perspective of someone looking outside from someplace insular, it also features material like “Loneliness” that goes in the complete opposite direction with its narrative. Here, Donohoe is yearning for someone to take in this story and cherish it like a parent would a child, perhaps redeeming much of the unsubtle pain it boasts both lyrically and musically.
“Cut Too Deep” is more clandestine in the way it conveys the emotionality of its creator, but make no mistake about it – his passions are never stifled by any of the instrumental or poetic elements he’s utilizing to make this music palatable to us. Chris Donohoe is a very intelligent composer, having spent time around some of the biggest names in the industry and learning the craft the right way, and if any critics were ever questioning his chops and long-term viability as a singer/songwriter, I think they’ll be left with a hard-sell argument with the arrival of this fantastically immersive EP.
As mighty as his melodies in “Let the Light In” and as austere a player as the very bones of “The Way of Love” would prove him to be, Chris Donohoe is playing the sort of pop music that American listeners have been specifically jonesing for in 2021. Let the Light In, Vol. 2 is most definitely the stronger of the two extended plays he’s released in the past couple of years, and although it’s not the longest record you’re going to get into this summer, my money says it’s going to be among the most memorable due to the uncompromising passion this player imparts in all five of its tracks. Donohoe is a one-of-a-kind singer/songwriter who deserves more attention from the establishment, and he could well score a lot of praise across the board for what he’s done in Let the Light In, Vol. 2.