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


Keane Curate a Night for War Child

Recorded last fall, Keane assembled a handful of friends to raise money for War Child, a charity dedicated to the welfare of Iraqi children. The list of bands on the bill is an odd one, beginning with Teddy Thompson, Findlay Brown and erstwhile Raconteur Brendan Benson before going to more Keane-ish bands like the Pet Shop Boys and Lily Allen. The set lists are tiny – no one but Keane plays more than two songs, and the Magic Numbers only play one – and Keane only plays four, not including the part where they back up Allen. The performances are good and the piece is judiciously edited so the next song comes soon after the previous one. But one can’t help but wonder what songs were played that night that didn’t make the cut; Keane, for example, played “Is It Any Wonder?,” one of their biggest hits, but it did not make the DVD. It feels like bad karma to kick around a charity DVD, but this set, while entertaining, feels incomplete. (Eagle Vision)

Click here to buy Keane Curate a Night for War Child