I was expecting something completely different from Toby Lightman after looking at the front cover of “Bird On A Wire”. I was expecting something largely acoustic based and quiet, in the vein of artists like Leah Zicari and the like, but what the disc starts out with is something gospel based with “Don’t Wake Me”.
After that introduction ends, something pop-laced and country-tinged comes into focus. What I can compare Lightman to would have to be Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks; ey does a blend split pretty much down the middle of country and pop. By the time that “Don’t Let Go” starts, there is an assumption of the slightly soulful sound of singers like Pink and Anastasia. The track has a hook to it that will mean that listeners will focus in, but the slower tempo of the track works at the detriment of Lightman until the second half of the track, which finally allows Lightman to get some momentum behind eir. The soulful approach continues during “Better”, and what results by this point in Lightman’s disc is something that can merely be called a pop disc.
There is no real unity on one or two style,s as each subsequent track has something else for Lightman to work out. “Better” is a reminder for me of artists like Des’ree, a very late nineties approach to pop music that will still have its fans. Toby Lightman has a number of tracks that could be played on the adult contemporary stations on the radio, but I am not sure if there are any tracks on “Bird On A Wire” present that could conceivably be played on TRL or anything like that. Saying that, Lightman will have eir audience regardless of what style of music that ey creates. Whether this album will sell 50,000 to 500,000 thousand copies is another question; the tracks are strong but I do not believe that ey can seriously be marketed to the younger set. The fact that this is a solid pop album that has track after track that could be considered a single has to go in Lightman’s favor. Pick this album up if you want track after track that you can sing along to and do not want to pick up a greatest hits by some other band. The songs are solid and I have no doubt that Lightman will have hits in the future.
Top Tracks: Round & Round, Better
Toby Lightman – Bird On A Wire / 2006 Atlantic / 13 Tracks / http://www.tobylightman.com / http://www.atlanticrecords.com / Reviewed 20 October 2006