After releasing two albums of soft, understated folk-pop aimed squarely at the Gray’s Anatomy crowd, Joshua Radin loosens the reins on The Rock and the Tide, an album that features several upbeat rock songs scattered across an otherwise intimate track list. “I’m starting over, so here we go,” he sings on “Here We Go,” his soft voice boosted by electric guitars, synthesizers, and a lush alternative rock arrangement. Most of the punchy numbers are located at the beginning of the album, and it’s only during the homestretch that Radin reverts to the hushed, soft-spun acoustic numbers that filled his earlier albums. It’s not that Radin sounds bad when he turns down the volume; he just sounds anonymous, with neither the vocal power nor the songwriting prowess to turn his ballads into something unique. The peppier material suits him best on this album, where songs like “Road to Ride On” and “Streetlight” contrast his affable croon (which never seems to rise above a speaking-voice decibel, almost as though Radin is afraid of waking the neighbors) with washes of instruments that are more than happy to make up for the lack in volume.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey