Nathan Xander

The Fear

Written by: TL on 08/10/2009 14:26:49

One question that's beginning to enter my mind about as regularly as another folk-influenced singer/songwriter enters my review list, is "How many times does music as simple as Bob Dylan's really need to be copied and/or reinterpreted?". "At least once more" seems to be the answer given by "The Fear", the new album from one Nathan Xander. So as you might imagine, what we're dealing with here is yet another would-be "great American songwriter", and if you've ever heard a record by one of the following; Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst (etc etc.), then you'll already know exactly what to expect from this record.

Western guitars, harmonicas, bluesy moods, country-ish melancholic vocals? Check, check, check, check! So what's new, you might ask, and truth be told, I'll join you in asking that question, because I sure can't find much originality in the soundscape presented before me on this record, and I would in fact be hard pressed to suggest any ways Nathan Xander could possibly resemble the artists listed below in FTFO any closer.

That being said, if you don't mind another batch of bluesy, folkish songs, built upon the solid foundations of American song writing tradition, then this is far from the worst place to look for it. Xander's interpretation of the greats is both faithful and confident, and if you're dig that, then you'll probably appreciate how his lyrics, at least on a couple of songs, seem to circle around the notion of how sad it is that most of the good old timers are 'dying out' and that it's hard to find out, who among the younger imitators have something 'real' to offer (see for instance: "Trial By Fire").

In my opinion though, while Nathan Xander doesn't really do anything wrong, there's far from enough original thinking on here, for him to hold a candle to guys like Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst, with whom he'll surely be competing for the same audience. And considering just how music those two have put out between them, if one was to compile a list of.. well, let's call them would be "great American records", then "The Fear" would probably be situated only slightly above the middle of that list. Simply put, it's not a bad listen for a rainy day, but you wouldn't have to try too hard to find something more interesting.


Download: John Wayne, Dark Horses
For The Fans Of: Bob Dylan, Conor Oberst, Ryan Adams,

Release Date 07.09.2009
Deep Elm Records

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