Well-observed reflections on life delivered with a powerful musical ease.
Have you noticed how music and album reviews can often head off down some side track focussing, or even fixating, on what the ‘other thing’ is that the musician does? Be that, the sport they also star at, their other creative work, or even where they live.
Noah Reid is a great singer and an accomplished musician. Even one cursory listen to this, his third album will let you know that. His previous two albums- ‘Songs From A Broken Chair’(2016) and ‘Gemini’ (2020) drew great critical acclaim. This album continues in the same strong vein.
“I wrote this album during a transitional period where a lot of tectonic shifts were taking place in my life,” says Reid. “I was getting married, [some work] was coming to an end, the pandemic was beginning—some of the changes were more internal and others were more at the societal level, but they all involved a shift in my thinking about the world around me.”
The album shows these conflicts, opening with ‘Everyday’- a darker reflection on life, kept light by chiming guitars and bright melody. Reid’s coming to terms with the contrasts around him is eloquently captured in the line- “The clouds are getting pretty, as the sky gets dark”. This leads into the second track, ‘Left Behind’, another deep subject. It shows Reid’s other preferred musical style- pared back piano and vocals, that take you back to early Billy Joel, or Marc Cohn.
This is great music delivered with an ease that belies its beauty and strength. It also has a conscience. The track ‘Another F**ckin Condo’ challenges the travesty caused by those developers who measure success by the number of shiny steel and glass buildings they can erect. And sell. ‘‘And there’s another giant hole dug in the ground. They’re burying what is left of this town. There’s another big old beauty coming down… They’re ripping out the soul of this town.” Ripples on the same theme from Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ come to mind- “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
The full band closing thrash that extends final track ‘Everything’s Fine’ to over seven minutes, reflects Reid’s difficulty coming to terms with the oft quoted political position that all is well in the world, when it is clearly not. A fitting finale.
Some of these songs will find a place as life-long companions for fans, with their questioning self-reflection and timeless vocals building to crescendo’s over stirring piano and orchestration, or joyful chiming guitars, and will feature as their soundtrack for key moments in time- weddings, first dates, divorces, births, career success and retirements.
Honest, well-observed, life-affirming music with a conscience. Take it to your heart.
Oh, by the way, Noah Reid is also a tv and film actor, well known for his part in Schitt’s Creek and loads of other ‘stuff’. Plus, he is Canadian.