Roddy Frame

Surf

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    7
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His first entirely solo release, with only vocals and acoustic guitar in the mix, Roddy Frame presents his considerable talents in a purely undiluted format. And while his intricate and accomplished guitar work, as well as his wonderful pop hooks, are consistently engaging, the final product is almost a bit too focused for its own good. His voice, while generally soulful and emotive, is, at times, a bit indistinctive and overwhelmingly mellow. Further, when paired with the wistful melodies and placidly fingerpicked guitar, a lack of both sonic and conceptual variation becomes the album's greatest weakness. That's not to say that the songs aren't entirely pleasant and the obvious product of a true master of the craft, as Frame's knack for subtlety and nuance makes for near perfect acoustic balladry and sincerely rendered lullabies. As always, his songwriting is clever and consistent, although slipping dangerously close to the realm of modern singer/songwriter quasi-folk in this context. Ultimately, one ends up wishing for a little dissonance to break up the singularly good-natured mood of the album and add a little contrast.

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