14 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elvis Costello sang the praises of this Canadian singer-songwriter’s self-titled 1995 album. Remarkably, Sexsmith returned with an even finer set of tunes for the follow-up. 1997’s Other Songs is a remarkably compact set of 14 meticulously crafted pop-rock gems. Sexsmith’s voice has been likened to ‘60s troubadour Tim Hardin and he also shares Hardin’s economic sense of style. No phrases are wasted; no melody wanders for long. Producer Mitchell Froom keeps a small room ambience on most tracks, adding ornamental touches sparingly (though the horns on “Clown in Broad Daylight” suggest a detour to Mardi Gras). From the purring organ notes that open “Thinking Out Loud” to Sheryl Crow’s accordion that trails off for “April After All,” Other Songs is a modest collection of hymn-like compositions that range from brilliant short-stories (“Strawberry Blonde,” “Pretty Little Cemetery”) to AM pop songs from another era (“Nothing Good,” “Honest Mistake”). Sexsmith’s pensive delivery is heightened by the spacey, slapback echo appended to “Child Star” and “So Young,” songs that longingly look to the past and future with equal trepidation and hope.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elvis Costello sang the praises of this Canadian singer-songwriter’s self-titled 1995 album. Remarkably, Sexsmith returned with an even finer set of tunes for the follow-up. 1997’s Other Songs is a remarkably compact set of 14 meticulously crafted pop-rock gems. Sexsmith’s voice has been likened to ‘60s troubadour Tim Hardin and he also shares Hardin’s economic sense of style. No phrases are wasted; no melody wanders for long. Producer Mitchell Froom keeps a small room ambience on most tracks, adding ornamental touches sparingly (though the horns on “Clown in Broad Daylight” suggest a detour to Mardi Gras). From the purring organ notes that open “Thinking Out Loud” to Sheryl Crow’s accordion that trails off for “April After All,” Other Songs is a modest collection of hymn-like compositions that range from brilliant short-stories (“Strawberry Blonde,” “Pretty Little Cemetery”) to AM pop songs from another era (“Nothing Good,” “Honest Mistake”). Sexsmith’s pensive delivery is heightened by the spacey, slapback echo appended to “Child Star” and “So Young,” songs that longingly look to the past and future with equal trepidation and hope.

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