Crashing into life with the big Pettyesque footstomper ‘Said and Done’ this album bursts forth on a wave of Californian country rock, a breezy West Coast sound from a breezy West Coast resident. A former rock journo returning to the music he used to make. ‘If I Had One Song’ is next up still ticking all the boxes and sounding very much like Bruntnell’s ‘Shot From a Spring’ but not quite as compelling and it’s probably the voice. The production is fine. Everything’s turned up to 10 .5 and mixed with a lovely sheen that does not stray into 80’s over production but keeps the guitars honest and the rhythm front and centre.
Unfortunately as the album progresses it becomes evident that whilst Hartsoe certainly has the Rock’n’Roll chops and playing companions, what he has yet to find is the one killer song that would lift his material from competently listenable fare to a must listen again grower. Each track unfolds in a familiar not unpleasant way as guitars soar and harmonies combine, but nothing really grabs with any conviction. This is ultimately a background album of anodyne genre music in need of a sublime track. Shame.