Australia - Full Moon 115 - 02/13/06
James Macdonald is a former member of Australian band the Woodshedders. Naked Soul is his third contribution as a solo artist, and his musical style can be put into the rather diffuse 'singer-songwriter' bag. Elliot Smith and Neil Finn has been named as references, with the latter as the most appropriate the way I see it. Maybe is "adult pop" more precise...
A lot of positive things is to be said about Naked Soul: Smoothly, almost perfectly balanced production. Beautiful vocal harmonies. Tasteful use of both brass, wind and string sections. Sophisticated arrangements and utterly nice tunes.
Still, I miss something essential when I listen to this record: Nerve. Naked Soul is an example of the fact that perfection, control and cleverness not necessarily make good music. Although there are a few exceptions here - most likely the hidden track which finishes the album - I have to say that listening to this album gives me little more than an overall feeling of boredom.
I am sure that James Macdonald is a smashing bloke, and his musical talent is undoubted. Why not ask Steve Albini to produve your next album, James?
Copyright © 2006 Håvard Kløften