Liam Titcomb’s latest offering is a personal journey that crosses both geographic (“See Rock City”—the lively opener that ends in a quiet arrival in Nashville) and emotional boundaries (the centrepiece of which is “It’s You,” where the object of his affection—fantasized as a lake of love— is given a wonderfully universal tone thanks to Harry the Great Viz-Audo’s summary chanting).
Titcomb’s vocal style of merged vowels, vanishing consonants and a slight nasal tinge give distinctive colour to the tracks. His instrumental contributions—notably on guitar in the easy feel of “Take the Wheel” and out-of-the-gate brightness in ”Lift Me Up”—are always welcome and carefully matched or complemented by the band. Drummer Giles Reaves literally hammers home the point (the incidence of addiction and suicide will recede if the root causes are treated with love rather than drugs) in “Nothing At All”; Mickey Raphael’s harmonica adds much to the timelessness of “Can’t Let Go”; all of the tracks benefit from the invention and capable support of Jay Joyce whether strumming, synthesizing or singing (also the skilled mixer/producer as displayed to best advantage in “11:30” where the balance is just right).
The cliché-laden lyrics (“… when push comes to shove” and “’Cause the best is yet to come” in “Got a Lot”) and the “Yeah, yeah, yeah” ode to the Beatles (“That’s All for Now”) grate on paper but add a compelling air of innocence when heard. There’s also a subtlety in Titcomb’s craft. It seems that the second-last song has been misnamed: surely “That’s All for Now” should be “That’s All Forever”—this relationship has moved far beyond any hope of reconciliation (“It’s gone way past me and you working it out”). But for the countless millions who have slammed the door then soon pined for the object of perpetual hurt, “Can’t Let Go” resonates inside and out as, like a moth to a flame (to use a cliché of my own), the lovers at loggerheads can’t escape their fate. JWR