Findlay Brown: Love Will Find You

RIYL: David Mead, Roy Orbison, Paul Carrack

With his debut, 2007’s Separated by the Sea, U.K. singer/songwriter Findlay Brown penned a love letter to ‘70s MOR pop with a modern sheen, delighting fans of artists like Ron Sexsmith and Josh Rouse. Those fans might be a little perplexed by Brown’s sophomore effort: Recorded after an auto accident left him with nothing to do but spin old records while recuperating from his injuries, Love Will Find You is a conscious step back – back about a decade, to be specific, toward the Sun Records school of reverb-laden lonely hearts fronting angelic choirs with lead vocals to match. To modern ears, Brown will come across here like a sock hop-headlining version of David Mead; older listeners, meanwhile, will hear more than a hint of Roy Orbison in Love’s tremulous refrains. And as far as pastiches go, this is pretty smart stuff – thanks in part to producer Bernard Butler’s way with a tinny AM string section and perfectly cavernous reverb, Brown comes across as legitimately steeped in the music of the era, rather than just another cheeky coattail-rider. Nonetheless, it’s still a pastiche, and no matter how smoothly Brown and Butler have honed it, Love floats away like the scent of your grandfather’s Old Spice once it’s done. At best, it’ll make you want to get a hold of a list of the albums that inspired Brown; at worst, it’ll keep you suspiciously tugging at its seams, looking for the real Findlay Brown behind the pompadoured façade. It’s to Brown’s credit that Love Will Find You never unravels, but it’s hard not to wish he’d brought a little more inspiration along with his sterling sense of songcraft. (Verve Forecast 2010)

Findlay Brown MySpace page