Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer
2011, Ronboy Rhymes
Ron Sexsmith was known early in his career as a one-man jukebox due to his amazing inability to play most any song requested while playing out live. But in 1984 Sexsmith turned his attention to writing his own material. Sexsmith’s brand of melancholic pop with British style melodies has become a staple of Canadian content and has even seen Sexsmith gain serious attention south of the proverbial 54-40. Sexsmith’s latest album, Long Player Late Bloomer continues his sonic maturation through songs of love and loss.
Long Player Late Bloomer opens with "Get In Line" a straightforward pop/rock tune with an almost McCartney-esque feel. There's an upbeat brand of melancholy that's pervasive here, making for an intriguing start. "The Reason Why" falls more into the Americana bucket with a sound that will appeal to fans of Blue Rodeo. Aside from the pure sonic aesthetics of the tune, it's a great bit of songwriting. "Believe It When I See It" opens with a piano-driven verse then falls into an ethereal, orchestral rock chorus. Sexsmith has crafted a pretty melody that waxes and wanes with wave-like intensity while building into the chorus like an on-coming tide. The song reflects hope for the future tempered with healthy doses of skepticism.
"Miracles" continues the orchestral pop/rock flavor. This one is subtle and sublime; a gorgeous arrangement that celebrates the small miracles of everyday existence. "No Help At All" resurrects the McCartney melodic influence in a song that reflects either a winsome melancholy or a mildly upbeat brand of fatalism. "Late Bloomer" can have more general applications, but at heart it's a quiet anthem for anyone who has ever picked up a musical instrument with the dream of making it big. It's an underdog's theme with a positive ending, even if it's not the outcome one might have wished starting out. "Heavenly" is a smooth and sweet country/folk/pop ballad. Sexsmith is at his vocal best here, with a sound so smooth it's practically theoretical.
"Michael And His Dad" is a heartfelt story-song capturing a moment between father and son at the playground, as the complexities of the life outside dance on the edge of their enjoyment of the day. It's an incredibly human and poetic portrayal of the perfect moments we discover amongst our imperfections. "Middle Of Love" is a catchy, middle-of-the-road Adult Contemporary rock number celebrating the moment of falling/being in love. "Everytime I Follow" continues the penchant for lush sound that Sexsmith has displayed throughout Long Player Late Bloomer, while "Eye Candy" brings a gently swaying cadence in the form of a healthy, energetic Americana arrangement. "Love Shines" revives the McCartney comparisons once again in a tune that embraces the simple things in life. It's a pretty tune with a muted pop sensibility that's infectious. Sexsmith closes with "Nowadays", an acoustic ballad that's subtly beautiful; exploring the depths of love and how it wraps itself around our hearts when we're not looking.
Ron Sexsmith is incredibly smooth throughout Long Player Late Bloomer, working in a vocal style that’s ultra cool. His voice is wonderfully soft and warm, and he caresses each vocal line like he’s in love with the music. Long Player Late Bloomer shows the continued maturation and growth of Sexsmith as a songwriter, and is among his best work to date.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)