# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Andrew James O'Brien - Songs for Searchers

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 12 / 1 / 2013

Andrew James O'Brien - Songs for Searchers
Label: Active Distribution
Format: CD


Catchy and instantly inviting debut album from Newfoundland singer-songwriter, Andrew James O’Brien

Some albums come along at just the right time. Within no time at all they become a part of your life or at least the soundtrack to a period of time you’ll remember forever. Such an album becomes your 3 a.m. friend. It is the music you turn to that makes you feel you’re not alone and which inspires you. If melodic music with thoughtful lyrics that the everyman can relate too set in a folk/pop setting is your thing, then welcome to ‘Songs for Searchers’, your best new favourite album. Newfoundland’s Andrew James O’Brien’s debut album, ‘Songs for Searchers’, was released in Canada back in April of 2011, but has only recently seen a UK release. By the third song you just know that O’Brien’s little stories set to some of the most attractive music you’ve ever heard are certain to have touched and moved many a music lover by now. The album (both O’Brien and ‘Songs for Searchers’ have already won numerous awards) opens with ‘House on Fire’, which is one of O’Brien’s more up-tempo songs, and not for the last time are you reminded of Ron Sexsmith’s more upbeat work. While on this song O’Brien displays tougher vocals than those of Sexsmith, it is his instantly appealing melodies and little story songs that link this Newfoundlander with Canadian Sexsmith. It’s probably not what O’Brien wants to hear just now but the second track, ‘City Song’, makes one drop the Sexsmith comparisons and think of Paul Simon. That is not to say that O’Brien doesn’t have a sound of his own, as it is obvious as the album progresses that the singer-songwriter not only has a way with catchy melodies and is a lyricist of some worth. By the end of ‘Songs for Searchers’, however, you feel that his warm, inviting vocals are not only perfectly suited to his story-songs but that while his influences seep through vocally at times there are moments where O’Brien sounds like…Andrew James O’Brien and no one else. That opening song sets out O’Brien’s stall perfectly. As catchy as a forest fire in August, O’Brien details the longing for a girl who likes to roam so precisely in his lyrics you’ll feel you’ve been there even if you haven’t. The acoustic ‘Thank You’ could well have been written at the end of a tour. “I want to thank you all for coming with all your hearts in tow/I’ll give you mine it’s all that I can do until its time to go,” O’Brien gently sings over a beautiful melody, and when female vocals join in it adds extra poignancy to lines such as “When the soft seats are empty and stage lights start to fade, know these songs I sing are all for you”. It is a touching, simple song that shows that O’Brien has what it takes to develop into one of this generation’s major songwriters. There is depth to all of the twelve original songs on this debut. While the majority of songs are instantly catchy, at times belying the lyrical content, there are those that take a little time to really get under the skin. This keeps interest in the album high, ‘Through My Days’ is a brooding tune showing a side to O’Brien that almost makes the opening two songs feel like they were coming from another artist. Here all those comparisons are futile, O’Brien proves that while he can wear his influences proudly on his sleeve his best and most interesting work is the result of O’Brien being O’Brien. The female vocals, which again make an appearance on this song, add more than texture to the song. They create an almost unsettling aura making the song a highlight of the album. O’Brien’s soulful vocals on the last verse, coupled with the female voice is quite breathtaking. “If I sing for you, play these strings for you, would you let me in?” O’Brien sings on ‘On the Radio’, adding that you won’t hear the song on the radio when in fact it’s one of the most radio-friendly songs that these ears have heard all year. Like many of the songs on ‘Songs for Searchers’, you’ll be singing along by the time the track ends. There’s a power pop feel to a couple of the songs, ‘La La La’ being the most obvious; a hook-laden gem of a pop song that won’t leave you alone for the rest of the day it shows another side to O’Brien. O’Brien closes the album with ‘Built to Last’, which at two minutes is one of his shortest yet most affecting love songs, and leaves you with the feeling that we’re going to hear a lot more of this talented tunesmith in the near future.

Track Listing:-
1 House on Fire
2 City Song
3 Thank You
4 All These Things
5 Go Easy
6 Through My Days
7 West Street Serenade
8 On the Radio
9 We Were a Boat
10 Like You Do
11 La La La
12 Built to Last

Band Links:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

digital downloads


most viewed articles

most viewed reviews

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors