Joe Rathbone’s latest album sounds as if he’s initially forcing the issue a bit. The record has Rathbone plopping himself into some radio-friendly rock and roll but the opening notes of “Angel” are far from heavenly. The mix of the song also is a bit iffy as his voice at times seems placed in the background. When he lets sleeping dogs lie, as is the case with the downbeat “Didn’t Think I Was in Love” and “This Is Where I Come From” the results are great, light pop tunes á la Matthew Sweet or The Odds. The singer-songwriter comes to the fore again with a simple but endearing and earnest “Beijing”. Yet for each time he takes a step forward, there’s always one step sideways or one backwards as it is with the insipid “The World (Never Gonna Be the Same)” and the daring but rather dreary “Mercury”. The redeeming portions of the record are near the conclusion as the roots-rock of “Slip” never falters while “Everything Falls Down” has a sweet, jazzy touch to it.
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