Tony McLoughlin: Ride The Wind

~ Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Tony McLoughlin like a lot of Irish musicians, takes his influences from across the Atlantic and his press release pitches his name alongside Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Tom Petty. Take this with a large pinch of salt for McLoughlin may aim to reach the same heights as these musical legends but is a long way off coming close to anything these guys have ever done. That is not to say that he does not have his own merits. He has a clutch of descent songs and the voice has a strange fragility that grows on you with each album he releases.

For this album McLoughlin has chosen to work with local musicians and producers instead of recording in Nashville like he did for his hugely impressive last album, Tall Black Horse. This has proved to be a serious mistake on his part as Tall Black Horse producer Thomm Jutz provided McLoughlin with a warm and rich sounding record that was littered with some of Nashville's finest musicians like Fats Kaplin and Pat McInerney who brought the best out of his songs but for this album he allowed friend and band member Ben Reel to take on the production duties. The result is the total opposite of Tall Black Horse in every sense of the word. Reel's production is a car crash that has rendered the music on this album non descript and sterile.

In musical terms McLoughlin's sound for this album is more Dire Straits than Springsteen and is unlikely to win him any new fans. You Look To Me, You Look For It All and Let The River Run are barely indistinguishable from each other, sounding like variations of the same song while the title track, co-written with Tommy Womack, is Americana by number and instantly forgettable. There is a rare glimpses of what McLoughlin is actually capable of on the last track of the album, Treeline. This is a quality song that is beautifully structured but has had the passion sucked out of it by the naive production.

Just as I didn't enjoy listening to this album, I didn't enjoy writing this review as I know that McLoughlin is capable of far better. Do yourself a favour, avoid this record and buy Tall Black Horse instead.

[][ (1.5/5)