From the opening lines of “Should Be” it becomes apparent why Arthur Yoria has been heralded as an acclaimed singer/songwriter—at least in his native Houston. His laissez-faire minimalism has the folksy appeal of your local bearded coffeehouse troubadour. “The ducks look pretty when they’re all in a row,” he sings with the coy modesty of unseasoned professional. It’s his penchant for simplicity, however, which plays to his disadvantage as the album trudges along. Songs such as “Clean for Free” and “Jimmy’s Rig” show a lack of depth which may more appropriately casts Yoria as a flash-in-the-pan OC-appearing hipster. His music may be well-suited for an ad campaign but less applicable to the more avid music listener. There are a few moment on Handshake Smiles where Arthur recaptures this je nous se qua such as his harmonica clad “Handshake Smiles” and the melancholy ballad “Sandy”. Not bad for a guy who just picked up the guitar in college. Let’s just hope Yoria keeps his charm as he gains experience.
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// Notes from the Road
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