FRUITCAKE RECORDS 26.11.07
Steve Reynolds is essentially an acoustic singer/songwriter and the multitude of people that fall into that category meant that I genuinely wasn’t expecting anything remarkably original from this album. I’m happy to say, however, that I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard from the outset. I’ll get the inevitable comparisons out of the way straight away. His voice reminded me of Ryan Adams or David Gray and the guitar has hints of Johnny Cash and he may, on the surface, be compared to any male acoustic musician out there at the moment. I would urge you, however, to look past this and give this album the chance to show you how bright and refreshing Steve Reynolds sounds.
Opener ‘Intro’ is a short instrumental consisting of acoustic plucking that sets the tone of the album very appropriately. Mr Reynolds is clearly a very accomplished guitarist as the plucking is a common feature throughout the album and always sounds fitting and compelling. With this he is able to create some magnificently grand atmospheres and I was can see the songs working extremely well as a soundtrack. ‘That Old Love’ is a tender look at the breakdown of a relationship but still manages to sound hopeful, as Steven says, “I do hope I’m creating something where I’m telling a story that might start out in the gutter but have a light at the end of it.” That sentiment is one that you’ll hear more and more on this record, the subject matter being somewhat mournful occasionally, but it never sounds depressing. There is a wondrous sense of optimism that fills Exile and ‘Dear Rose’ is a particular favourite of mine.
What this album boils down to, despite the obvious comparisons that will be drawn, is that these are fantastic songs that are a joy to listen to. Yes he’s a male singer/songwriter, yes he’s playing an acoustic guitar, yes we’ve seen this many times before, but you can’t argue with beautifully, well crated songs and you’ll find them in spades here.