Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reviews:: Royal Wood The Lost or Found EP

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Effortless; a term thrown around all too often in music reviews. The overused descriptor nestles up nicely beside sentiments like beautiful, epic, soaring, hazy, and "I liked their earlier stuff better" and when it comes to classic chamber pop tracks it seems to be a pre-requisite.

When you hear the perfect combination of velvety vocals, smooth melodies and cinematic soundscapes, it's far too easy to talk about how weightless and effortless the sound feels. The truth is those songs are the hardest songs to mime and the effort needed to perfect the sound is incredible. When used correctly, strings and piano are terrific accents but for the most part come off as (at best) unnecessary or (at worst) pretentious when artists try to force importance to their melodrama.

The more you listen to Toronto singer Royal Wood, the more you start to appreciate his ability to handle paino and string filled arrangements that play out as simple, honest expressions. On his new stop gap EP – The Lost and Found EP – the darkness and stark emotions he delivers are hidden underneath ear grabbing tones, and the density of the effort vanishes instantly. Whether he strips away everything except his voice and a piano line (on the touching ballad, All of My Life) or explore bolder arrangements (like the string laden opener Don't Fall Apart or Thinking About), Wood never sacrifices his sincerity.

Finding your musical stride is incredibly tough, but almost impossible when you are trying to strike an original voice amongst some of the talented chamber pop successes Canada has to offer. Over the course of his career, Woods has improved his song writing and it needs to be said; Royal has moved away from the obvious comparisons to greats like Sexsmith and Wainright and now exists as one of their peers.

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Posted at 11:38 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 6:52 PM, Blogger Jim did sayeth:

I am slowly but surely falling for the charms of Mr. Royal Wood. I agree that he's definitely etching out his own niche.


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