For me, Joshua Radin really came out of nowhere. I think I had vaguely heard of his name before, but I could not place any sort of track or style to eir face. From the opening of “Sundrenched World”, one can hear that there is some panoply of interests that coalesce into Radin’s distinctive style. To try to lump Radin in with the styles of individuals like Dave Matthews or John Maher would be to do a disservice to Radin, that is for sure. This style is crafted of whole cloth for “We Were Here”. If there was a genre tag that I could place on Radin’s output during “We Were Here”, I would have to say that it would be bedroom rock”.
Many of the tracks on “We Were Here” are done with a tenderness that reminds me of laying in beds with someone, idly runnig your fingers along their back. During “Everything’ll Be Alright”, the guitars are Spartan enough to allow for the vocals to completely carry the harmonies during the track. In that sense, I would like to compare Radin to bands like the Counting Crows. The follow-up track to “Everything’ll Be Alright” is “These Photographs”, a track that blends the dreamy style of prior tracks on “We Were Here” with a more insistent tempo to make something that will have an even larger audience. “Closer” brings Radin back quite a few years to the days of soft rockers like Cat Stevens. There is little doubt in my mind that Radin will be loved by young and old alike, and while none of the tracks on “We Were Here” is going to win an award for virtuosic guitar work, they are very deftly put together.
I know that I would rather hear this sincere brand of soft pop rock than try to suffer through the latest unplugged version of a new rock song. Let’s hope that enough DJs and video music hosts will be able to agree with me thwere, and that Radin will get eir day in the sun soon enough. I don’t know how exactly Radin would make a better album than “We Were Here”. There is nothing structural wrong with any of the tracks, and Radin is always ready to turn a phrase or find some way to tattoo eir specific style on a listener’s heart. Give it a go even if you only slightly like this style of music.
Top Tracks: Today, Winter
Joshua Radin – We Were Here / 2006 Sony / 11 Tracks / http://www.joshuaradin.com / http://www.sony.com / Reviewed 15 November 2006