Drew Holcomb / Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors

Chasing Someday

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Drew Holcomb is an earnest songwriter. That’s his strength, and his somewhat melancholy tenor voice -- which can get husky and smoky when he needs it to -- makes everything seem intimate and urgent. Holcomb and his band, the Neighbors, work a sort of folky pop-country territory, sounding at times like a muted, less vital Nashville version of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and like Petty, Holcomb's lyrics only occasionally match his attitude. Chasing Someday is Holcomb and the band’s fourth studio album (they also released a capable Christmas set in 2007, so one could also call it the fifth album), and while there are some stirring songs and performances on it, including the solemn “Live Forever,” the joyous “Miracle,” the bluesy and desperate “Can’t Get Enough of You,” the hooky, jaunty “Baby Tomorrow,” and the absolutely lovely “Someday,” at least half of the set slips by without much of a fuss, and while Holcomb's lyrics aren’t exactly cliché-ridden, at times it feels like they are. He’s earnest. He’s sincere. He’s usually refreshingly hopeful and positive. You want to like the guy and you want to like this band. The songs just aren’t always fully there, which makes Chasing Someday feel less like a triumphant arrival of a great band and more like a transitional album that’s half full of good songs and half full of OK songs that don’t stick around very long in one’s memory. One feels that Holcomb and the Neighbors will get there, though. Songs like “Someday” are just too good to not point to a more consistently engaging album down the road. Until then, half a striking album will have to do.

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