First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2003, Volume 10, #12
Written by John Metzger
Alexi Murdoch is either tremendously insecure about his art, or heís an extraordinarily shrewd businessman. He repeatedly has shied away from signing with a major label; after k.d. lang fell in love with a demo he handed her at the local supermarket, he turned down her request for additional material; and he has recorded and released only one album, a mere four-song EP (appropriately titled Four Songs), despite press, radio, and fans practically begging him for more. The result is a major, grassroots buzz that seems ready to push Murdoch right into the path of the mainstream publicity bus.
Whether itís a carefully crafted plan or simply dumb luck, the fact remains that Four Songs is an extraordinary effort that finds beauty within its simple, easy-going arrangements. His songs recall the dreamy folk-pop of Nick Drake, while mixing in a touch of country, courtesy of Uncle Tupelo. Where Belle & Sebastian embraced the playful strains of Drakeís Bryter Layter, Murdoch seems far more enthralled with the calm, autumnal grace of Five Leaves Left and Pink Moon. Indeed, itís nearly impossible to tell Murdochís Song for You apart from the music of Drakeís tragically short-lived career. The only lingering question is whether Murdoch will find his way onto that speeding bus or simply be run over by it. In the meantime, donít miss Four Songs; its 20-minute duration offers a too-rare glimpse of pop-music heaven.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box