Howie Day is a rare talent. His feel for melody and structure coupled with the poetry that comprises his lyrics prove this point over and over, 11 songs running. Even amid, or perhaps thanks to, tastefully straightforward production, Day's brilliance comes through. And seeing as he was 19 when he made Australia, he's just getting started. His are the songs that stick in listeners' minds and ears for days on end, even after only one listen. Dive a little deeper and one gets to the heart of his intimate storytelling, and they'll be awfully glad they did. Just pick a tune, any tune. From "Sorry So Sorry" and "She Says" to "More You Understand" and "Morning After" or any point in between, these are great songs one and all. They are not the work of a teenybopper. Rather, Day falls more in line with Fiona Apple in terms of the maturity and depth of songwriting craft that surprisingly comes from such a young upstart. Indeed, he's an old soul who just happens to have blonde spiky hair. Those who love the smart pop offered by folks like Jonatha Brooke, Neil Finn, and Sheryl Crow will, from the opening groove box rhythm, be hooked on this wunderkind. And his live performances are just as mesmerizing. It's no wonder Australia sold over 10,000 copies before any of the big boys even had a chance to take a meeting.
AllMusic Review by Kelly McCartney