What's Mine Is Yours
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2006, Volume 13, #8
Written by John Metzger
In the wake of Counting Crows’ blockbuster debut August and Everything After, the marketplace was flooded with an overabundance of Adam Duritz imitators, all of whom attempted but failed to walk the fine line between being too polite and too overwrought. For a time, even Counting Crows began to stray into territory that was safe, comfortable, cuddly, and inordinately bland. For proof, one need look no further than Accidentally in Love, its contribution to, of all things, the Shrek 2 soundtrack. Now that the band has dusted off a three-year old concert for its latest salvo New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall and set its sights upon making a comeback, however, it somehow seems fitting that the group’s return to the charts would be challenged by the next generation of songwriters. After all, the 13 years that have passed since August and Everything After was released is a lifetime in the music business.
In effect, What’s Mine Is Yours, the major label debut by up-and-coming artist Eliot Morris, taps into the same soulful spirit of Americana that Counting Crows once called its own. In fact, on tracks like The Infancy of Us, No One Has to Know, and Will She Ever Love Again?, Morris sounds like a dead-ringer for Duritz. Yet, rather than slipping into pale imitation, he brandishes the same emotionally charged exuberance that has kept Counting Crows’ endeavors afloat. Better still, when Morris’ heart-on-his-sleeve delivery is joined by the seductively ethereal vocals of his female accompanists (Inara George, Sara Watkins, Bekka Bramlett, Gemma Hayes, and Lisa Germano), the material gains both intimacy and resonance. During the latter portion of I Will Try, for example, George perfectly plays the role of Sinead O’Connor to Morris’ Peter Gabriel, and together the duo salvage a song that, for a moment, seemed destined to stumble.
Nevertheless, scattered throughout What’s Mine Is Yours, there are a few tracks — This Colorful World and Fault Line, among them — on which the melodies and arrangements never quite become as overpoweringly intoxicating as they should. Yet, laced with the aching cries that David Lindley coaxes from his guitar, songs such as the irresistibly bubbly Balancing the World and the hard-driving The Moment You Believe fully achieve the cathartic transcendence for which they strive. Where Morris goes from here is anyone’s guess, of course, but if he remains as genuine as he sounds on the bulk of What’s Mine Is Yours, he ought to be able to carve out his own niche without succumbing to mediocrity. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box