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Findlay Brown

Love Will Find You

Rating: 3.0 /5.0

Label: This Is Music Ltd.

I first became aware of British singer-songwriter Findlay Brown at an Au Revoir Simone show here in Portland- he and his band opened for the New York trio and I was intrigued by his retro-pop stylings and undeniable charisma. Unfortunately, the raw sound that I heard live does not translate well on his sophomore record, Love Will Find You. A collection of pop songs heavily influenced by the likes of Roy Orbison and Phil Spector, his new record unfortunately leans a little too heavy on his heroes to really shine by itself.

The first and title track- also probably its finest- is a horn-filled vamp stretched aurally wall to wall, filled with sentiments like “I’m here/ I wait for you patiently/ For you to wash over me/ Hoping to feel inside/ Love will find you.” The occasional chime and winsome chorus battle against an army of strings, and a beautiful, nostalgic song is the result. Not every tune is so fortunate; “Nobody Cared” uses that same orchestration to great effect, but lifts a little too much vocal melody from Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Similarly, Brown’s vocal on “Holding Back the Night” sounds uncomfortably similar to The King’s “Now or Never,” although the double time drums and percussive rhythm do much to offset.

These occasional overt lifts are the only true problems on Love Will Find You. Brown’s predilection towards classic pop lends itself well to his deep, even croon, and even the instrumentation is note-perfect for the ’50s style he’s slowly perfecting. Melodrama is the key word of the record- there are no small emotions here, only the sounds of a man throwing his heart into his microphone. “All That I Have” is certainly radio-ready, with a stinging violin riff and lyrics like “You had me running from the start/ All you need to do is let me in to your heart.” It’s a pop song that doesn’t really on anything but solid construction and a whole lot of drama. The closing number, “I Had A Dream” is the inverse of that, slow and nostalgic, using slow drums, piano and the late addition of a tinny saxophone to illustrate sorrow that sounds like it should be heard over an abandoned drive-in theater’s sound system.

Perhaps I’m expecting too much of Brown, based on his live show. He’s an infectious performer, but his record is just a little too smooth and too in debt to match up to the highs of his performances. But he’s a songwriter of undeniable skill and savvy and could undoubtedly get there. Maybe next time, he’ll hide his crutches a little better.

by Nathan Kamal
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