Jon McLaughlin left major labels behind after the 2008 release of OK Now, releasing Forever If Ever on his own in 2011, and seeing it receive a full-scale release from Razor & Tie in 2012. Holding My Breath is set to follow the same path. Partially backed by PledgeMusic, Holding My Breath is a digital self-release that appeared in the fall of 2013 and it, like its predecessor, doesn't betray its independent origin in the slightest. There's nothing at all modest or rickety about this album; even at its quietest moments it bears an expensive sheen, which is only appropriate as so much of McLaughlin's appeal rests on sound itself. He still sings sweetly, sounding plaintive on the ballads and wistful when he's happy, but it's all tied together by his soft touch: he never pushes the songs but always lets them glide. If the melodies don't stick the way they did the last time around, there's a slightly stronger sense of ambition, and that's a giveaway that this independent streak suits the mild-mannered melodicist; he wants to do things his way and on his terms. He shouldn't be docked points for wanting to do something utterly commercial and conventional.
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