Glass Bead Music
On past releases Joshua Radin has struggled to find a balance between upbeat, feel-good tunes and stripped-back, melody-driven acoustic numbers. 2006’s We Were Here placed its emphasis on whisper-like vocals resting on the frail skeleton of a faint acoustic guitar, while 2008’s Simple Times saw him pick up the pace and introduce female backing vocalist Patty Griffin.
His trademark whispering vocals restricted variety on We Were Here, and the novelty of Griffin was a little too overpowering on Simple Times. Both are great records, but had their direction set by certain elements that stunted anything really groundbreaking. Before writing Wax Wings, it seems Radin took the time to analyze his career to date in order to map out the perfect record.
He is one of few vocalists who can sing through a whisper and maintain a solid melody that doesn’t feel forced. It’s his unique way of singing that separates him from others attempting to take over the world with an acoustic guitar. On his latest effort, he still keeps his voice to a husky whisper most of the time, but allows himself to break free from it every now and then. Griffin also makes an appearance, but her voice sits firmly in the background.
Track two, When We’re Together, is classic Radin. The kind of song you’d expect to hear at the end of a romantic comedy, while Lovely Tonight mimics that of his Scrubs’ single, Closer.
To truly appreciate this record, it’s preferable to have knowledge of his back catalogue, but if you’re new to Radin, this album is a great introduction.