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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Tomorrow Comes The Spring
(LOUNGE SIDE RECORDS)
Now resident in Austin, John Neilson’s third full-length album sees him expressing regret, vulnerability and hurt, in his wholly-believable careworn manner as he climbs inside his songs and lives the universal catharsis on our behalf.
This is demonstrated most starkly in ‘Starlight Eyes’, a gentle song of longing and the aching ballad ‘Coming Home’. In the latter, his heartbreaking ‘when are you coming home?’ gives way to the resigned defeat of ‘because you’re not coming home’, echoing the helpless desolation of centuries-old blues.
Although the mood tends to be introspective, the contents of Tomorrow Comes The Spring display Neilson’s versatility. ‘Shape I’m In’ has a skipping pop feel and the chorus of the sprightly ‘Take A Shot’ soars with a memorable hook that will nag for hours after the pause button’s been pressed. He even finds space to lay down what might pass as an indie rock country ballad, in ‘Dreams At Night’ likely to cause angst amongst the genre purists as it echoes with the jangle of indie-pop heroes James. Yes, really.
Yet, it’s the opening track that flicks the switches. The introductory bars of ‘Fall’ have a free-wheeling organic warmth, reminiscent of The Band or The Outlaws. Its chugging, jagged country rock has an energy and edginess of which Ryan Adams or Tom Petty would be proud. Amid the soul-searching and angst, Neilson can rock, and it would be a pleasure to hear some more of this.
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