Shane Nicholson’s second record projects a pleasant sound and easygoing vibe, showing him to be a folk rock-oriented songsmith with the ability to create laid-back hooks and emit a genuinely nice persona—kind of a Howie Day meets Keith Urban. Faith & Science is marked by a tendency toward well-crafted, well-produced tracks whose moderate tempos and earnest sentiments leave them primed and ready for a splash on contemporary radio. When the quality of Nicholson’s material matches the sincerity with which he delivers it, some special moments occur. First single (and opening track) “Safe and Sound”, for example, has a lovely production value, lending suitable backing to give rise to Nicholson’s lyrics “If everything seems to be out of control / Losing the heart in search of the soul / Just keep us all safe and sound.” Additional album highlights include “Everybody Loves You Now” and “I Know What You Need”, songs that prove compatable with the album’s tone. A few other songs don’t fare quite as well: ballad “I Can Change” is a little melodramatic while Nicholson’s cover of Tom Waits’ “Big in Japan” fails to connect. By album’s end, it’s clear that little of remarkable proportion has occurred, but a steady dose of the heart and soul Nicholson advocates holding on to and the consistency of the album’s production makes Faith & Science a nice listen with several memorable cuts.
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