Australia - Full Moon 122 - 09/07/06
Laughing Outlaw Records
George Byrne, who can be described as another contributor to the already packed bag of "singer-songwriters", makes his full album debut with this one. According to the press material, his first EP from October 2004 acclaimed heavy rotation on some of Australia's radio stations - and he seemingly tries to take a step further here, with a UK tour to coincide with the album's release.
Even though the title might suggest something else, George Byrne doesn't make any innovations with his album. The musical landscape of artists as early Pink Floyd ("Goldmine", "Light Years"), Mellow Gold-era-Beck (title track, "Everybody Hides") and Ryan Adams ("Already There") demands quite some creativity if one aims to give any personal contributions to the genre.
Actually, I don't think Mr Byrne has such ambitions. He tries, mostly with a very good result, to make beautiful songs, packed in nice arrangements and a subtle production. The musicians do a very good job here, especially the pedal steel guy (I suppose it's a guy...), but also the other guitar work is excellent (listen to the George Harrison-like slide solo on "Light Years"!). Byrnes voice is inevitably reminiscent of a young David Gilmour - quite a compliment, if you ask me - and the album also contains some great vocal harmonies, as in "Up in Ova".
All in all is Foreign Water a promising album from an artist with a huge potential. Unfortunately, an album almost an hour long normally has some boring and/or unnecessary moments. Interestingly(?) enough, these moments appear on the tunes that doesn't quite fit together with the others, like the bubble-gum-rocker "Paralysed" and the snappy, but annoyingly irritating pop-rock song "Tongue Tied". My advice to George Byrne is therefore: Stick to the well-known formula! It's more than enough for me.
Copyright © 2006 Håvard Kløften