Much ado has been made over the raw deal Eric Hutchinson received after his former label, Madonna's Maverick imprint, collapsed, leaving Hutchinson afloat without a record contract. Subsequently, the singer/songwriter turned things around for himself with the release of 2008's Sounds Like This. The album caught the ear of blogger Perez Hilton, whose support helped build some much-needed buzz for Hutchinson, as well as a deal with Warners. Hutchinson then followed up with 2012's Moving Up Living Down. As with that album, Hutchinson's 2014 effort, Pure Fiction, finds him delivering more of his passionate, melodic, and imminently likable songs. Hutchinson's experience with Maverick was clearly a sobering one, but rather than give up, the L.A.-based artist successfully transitioned from would-be star into a reliable journeyman songwriter. Which is to say, Hutchinson is able to write songs that retain his personal emotional integrity, while fitting in nicely with whatever sound is happening at that moment. It's a skill that sets Hutchinson next to artists like Jason Mraz and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (both of whom Hutchinson has toured with). To these ends, on Pure Fiction we get the anthemic, Mumford & Sons-style opener, "Tell the World," the '80s Rick Springfield-meets-Peter Wolf-sounding "A Little More," and the soulful Billy Squier-esque "I Got the Feelin Now." Hutchinson even summons the hard rock-turned-crooner energy of Extreme for his very "More Than Words"-sounding acoustic power ballad "Goodnight Goodbye." Ultimately, the truth of Pure Fiction is that Hutchinson remains an impressive, resonant-voiced singer and a vibrant conduit for catchy, radio-ready pop.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar