Brooklyn songwriter Tim Williams is a hard guy to knock. Last year, he underwent open-heart surgery, moved to L.A. to recover, and emerged with a new set of songs about matters of the heart both literal and figurative. The cover art of the resulting product, Careful Love, depicts a man holding a bleeding heart in his hands as an offering to a giant grizzly, which represents, given the album’s lyrics, the overwhelming forces of love and/or death. Williams’ new lease on life has led to a shift in his musical aesthetics, namely a more electric and collaborative approach, as Williams sheds the singer-songwriter mode for the indie-pop sound of the new record. Moreover, Williams brings aboard Matt Welsh, guitarist for indie-roots band Phonograph, who helps provide a blippy ambience to Williams’ tunes, which are backed mostly by Casio-style drum tracks.
Because the songs were written in a single creative charge, Careful Love has a cohesive effect, perhaps a detriment by the album’s end, since few of the melodies are likely to squeeze your pleasure centers. Some of the songs, “Oceans” for one, feel overly repetitive. However, Williams’ lyrics about life’s compensations and recoveries are uniformly smart, and the record has some memorable tracks, namely the jangly single “I Hit Another Wall” — as heard on Cougar Town! — and the windswept ballad “Murderous Air”.