Folk/pop singer crafts familiar, fleetingly enjoyable assortment of songsThere is a tangible sincerity to Joshua Radin.
While his brand
of singer/songwriter tunes aren't terribly original, they never feel
false or fabricated. Simple Times
his sophomore release, is
just that: simple. It sticks to his formula of pensive, vaguely
introspective lyrics (example: "you make your past your past") echoed
through his hushed, whisper-thin voice, peppered with wistful piano and string arrangements. Songs like "One of Those Days" and lead single
Rather Be With You" are fleetingly pleasant. "Sky," the sprightly
confection with fellow Hotel Café artist Meiko,
is charming and earnest ("Sometimes I forget to love you like I should /
But I'd never leave you / No, I never would"). The muted, melancholic
"They Bring Me
To You" is a
stunning standout, with pitch-perfect vocals from Erin McCarley that
melt in tune with Radin's. When Radin strays too far from the formula,
African-twinged "We Are Okay" and the grating "Vegetable,"
the album stalls. But even though nothing approaches the
honeyed intimacy of "Star Mile" or the lush
instrumentation of "Sundrenched World" off 2006's We Were Here
Radin has crafted a worthy collection of songs destined for future Zach Braff movies (his close friend). That's not
necessarily a bad thing.
Listen to Joshua Radin's "They Bring Me To You" from Simple Things: