Skyscraper Soul (Vinyl) (Can)


aec.imt9491790.1 10/4/11 New

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    Skyscraper Soul (Vinyl) (Can) WEA

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Review Text Hoping to instill some pride back to the Toronto hometown he feels is unfairly maligned, Blue Rodeo frontman Jim Cuddy's third solo album, Skyscraper Soul, is a love letter to the Ontario capital that rather appropriately eschews his usual country-pop for a more urban soft rock sound. Accompanied by his regular backing band, including producer Colin Cripps and bandmate Bazil Donovan, it's a subtle change in direction that works wonders on the cruising Eagles-esque Americana of "Regular Days," which provides a perfectly suited soundtrack to its story of a cash-strapped couple on a road trip; the gentle acoustic melancholy of "Everyone Watched the Wedding," a heartfelt tale of a man taking stock of his life after watching the recent Royal nuptials; and the lilting piano melodies and ELO-style harmonies of "Don't Know That Much." But with only the toe-tapping rhythms, honky tonk piano chords, and breezy trumpet hooks of the Billy Joel-inspired "Still Want You" and "Water's Running High," a gritty slice of old-school R&B originally intended for a comedy short featuring his wife, moving out of second gear, the record feels a little too one-note to match the obvious passion he has for his beloved city. Indeed, it's not difficult to see why the violin-led instrumental "City Birds" was rejected from a recent film score for being "too sentimental," while the stripped-back "Ready to Fall" and "With You" have their hearts in the right place, but are just too dreary to make any lasting impression. Cuddy has admitted that his solo career is for the songs that aren't cool enough for his day-job outfit, and while it undeniably contains a certain charm, Skyscraper Soul's lack of excitement ensures that no one is likely to disagree with him. ~ Jon O'Brien

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