Nelson Sobral “Second Arrow”

Independent, 2022

Joyful collection of memorable songs from Toronto songwriter.

If there’s one thing we all need at the moment is positivity and this wonderful album of singalong songs is breath of musical fresh air. Sobral has been working on this album for a long time – with the pandemic, becoming a father and the death of a close musical friend interrupting proceedings.

It opens with the pulsating rhythms of ‘Dancing Fool’ – a foot-stomping rocker with a powerful drumbeat from the swaggering Rafael Rodriguez and with a feeling I so relate to – lyrics stating “dancing like a fool, when no one’s watching, still dancing when they do”. The quality continues with ‘Honey Bee’, a soulful jig about opposites attracting and has a heart lifting feel that’s so infectious.

There’s some fantastic Motown soul rock on ‘In The Middle Of The Night’ – a feelgood love song that elicits toe tapping and warmth in equal measures. On ‘Pendulum’, the joys and challenges of love is celebrated in another memorable tune – it’s a co-write with singer songwriter Mattie Leon, who also plays organ and it features Selcuk Suna on horns.

Raining In Nashville’ has a singalong chorus and is a heartfelt love song about missing your partner (“I’d go down on the ship with you, holding hands”). The album ends with a really lovely passionate song ‘Yours and Mine’ – that I’m sure his partner will blush at, but in the nicest way possible. The lady in question – Manami Kita – provides the lovely album artwork.

The album title, by the way, is a Buddhist parable reference – as Sobral says – “if someone does you harm, that’s the first arrow; but if you dwell on it, that’s causing yourself the next wave of suffering. The ‘second arrow’ is the arrow that you fire yourself – it’s all about how you deal with things”. So now you know.

Sobral has a really powerful voice, plays some virtuoso guitar on this album, as well as many of the other instruments, demonstrates polished song-writing talents and there isn’t a dud track on this uplifting and superb release. The smiley face emoji was meant for this one, that’s for sure.


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Thank you so much for the sweet album review, Paul!