Tim Reid is an Australian singer-songwriter making a bit of a name for himself in his native land. After recording various songs for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Reid eventually caught the attention of Popboomerang Records, a native label that offers some of the sweetest pop Down Under, or up over for that matter. The album, which features members of various groups not well known on North American shores (Icecream Hands, Art of Fighting), instantly recalls Neil Finn or the Finn Brothers on the soft, acoustic guitar driven “Two Left Feet”. His vocals just above a whisper but as smooth as you couldn’t even come close to imagining, Reid mix just a bit of his Beatles influence within his own strengths. The almost ethereal harmonies in the distance give it a spacey, Byrds-like flavor as well.
People like Danny Wilde and the Rembrandts or Michael Penn are also fair comparisons on “We All Need”, which has a hint of piano and a vast, wide-open Americana style to it. The ease he brings to each song is quite pleasing, as if he just conjured the tune up on a whim and it happened to work. What is also noticeable is how little of a lilt or accent Reid possesses, just one ambling soft pop nugget after another. One lovable hook appears on “Love with You”, a self-explanatory title that has a great hook as Reid mentions Edgar Allan Poe. The handclap also gives it a nice touch without resorting to the party-time, feel-good, sing-along rut some numbers devolve into. The title track keeps the album moving along with accordions and a dreamy, highbrow pop niche. “And now it’s been done the surreptitious one saves the day / A cameo in blue with lines better than you turns the stage lights off”, he sings while strumming his guitar.
Reid excels at the sort of tunes that are perfect for summer sunsets or walks in the park, especially on the adorable “Air with Words”, a number performed on piano that recalls the late Elliott Smith and his pragmatic lullabies and touches on “dizzying heights forging a future on false sentiments”. Thus far, Reid doesn’t go for a large, lush orchestral setting to get his songs across, but he comes close during the song’s middle section and conclusion. He chooses to elongate the track however as it ventures just over the five-minute mark. “Home Movies” is softer and even more delicate than the last track, a combination of guitar, piano, and Reid gliding over both by the skin of his teeth. It sounds fuller for the first time, bordering on radio-friendly pop. Not to say these others aren’t radio-friendly, but there is more of a hook to this slow-building, saxophone-tinged ditty.
Reid probably gets sick to death of the comparisons to Finn and his style, but listening thus far, it’s extremely difficult to think of anyone that comes even remotely close. This is exemplified on the lovely, mid-tempo “World That’s Made for Two”, a tune that sounds a bit like “She Will Have Her Way” from Finn’s Try Whistling This. It’s also the first instance where Reid rocks out a bit further than usual, with better than expected results. To sound like him and to perfect the same mould of songwriting are two different things, but Reid is able to dole out just as many memorable, witty pop narratives as anyone out there on the market today. The lithe “He’s Counting Days” brings things back to what he considers normal, showing his strengths as a kindergarten-like guitar chord is repeated. Vocally, he nails it, but there isn’t that much here that he hasn’t done earlier.
The last couple of songs, including “Lily”, are just as lush and precious as anything else here. Why this man hasn’t become more recognized is baffling, but hopefully he won’t quit anytime soon.
// Notes from the Road
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