Ron Sexsmith – Carousel One (Cooking Vinyl)
CD | LP | DL
Revered by many of his peers, Ron Sexsmith continues to release albums with clockwork regularity. Louder Than War’s Craig Chaligne reviews his latest CD.
Ron Sexsmith puts out albums with the regularity of a Swiss watch. One every two years. The last two offerings have been particularly strong. 2011’s “Long Player, Late Bloomer” saw him collaborating with Metallica producer Bob Rock resulting in probably his most commercial sounding album to date. The 2013 follow-up “Forever Endeavour” saw him retreating to more familiar surroundings with a sparser production courtesy of long-term associate Mitchell Froom. That effort, though less immediate than its predecessor, displayed Sexsmith’s customary high-level of songwriting.
“Carousel One” could be considered a hybrid of these two releases. After the first listen you might end up slightly deflated wondering “well it’s more of the same as the last one” but further listens bring out the nuances of the songs and the hooks start to stick in your head.”Sure As The Sky”, with its swirling Hammond parts opens the album on an upbeat note. On “Saint Bernard” Ron lets his sense of humour permeate the lyrics. The lines “There’s Flask around his neck, Of bandy for me, To sip on as I reflect my own immortality, Like a four legged mini bar, I’m talking St Bernard” must have raised a few smiles among the Sexsmith fans when they first heard the record.
The pedal steel on “Loving You” brings an extra flavour to a what is a classic Sexsmith mid-tempo number. One genre in which Ron excels is the toe-tapper and “Before The Light Is Gone” is the perfect example and the jaunty boogie of “Getaway Car” sees him broadening his musical pallet.
The album loses a bit of steam in its second half with a series of ballads that have a tendency to blend into each other. It’s only when you reach “No One”, one of the catchiest track on the record, that the pace picks up a little. Shedding two or three tracks would have it a more enjoyable listening, but Mr Sexsmith is generous with his talent so we get a total of 16 tracks with two songs that feel a bit superfluous after the excellent “Tumbling Sky” and “Many Time”.
All words by Craig Chaligne. More from Craig can be found at his Author Archive