Fri, Mar 9, 2012.
A rare outing for the beloved pop creator, from The Inbreds of 1990's fame. O'Neill's the kind of guy who fans and musicians speak of in awe, the former cherishing magic favourite moments, the latter wishing they could create such moments of perfection. Well kids, here you have another offering that should make you happier than ever, after a silence from the man since 2004's The Owl.
O'Neill now records and produces on his own, so things are cleaner and crisper than his work of the past, as he's been able to beaver away at it until it's reached the point of perfection. I don't use that lightly; there are many moments of absolute bliss for the power pop fan here, and even a couple of songs that I think are indeed, absolutely perfect and wonderful and I'm honoured to have heard them. Wasted Time is one of them, full of harmonies, rich guitars, a great vocal and lyrics, recalling the best of the 60's (Byrds/Beatles) and 70's (Badfinger/solo George Harrison), with that alt-upgrade to modernize the whole thing.
If you're that kind of fan, you know, the Big Star and early R.E.M. junkie, you'll dig every reference point here, and imagine O'Neill hard at work in his own studio, making each piece better and better. He's a guy who knows just where to put the doo-doo-doo-tee-doo harmonies, all that building blocks of rock stuff, but also has his own unique style, especially with his tender and weary lyrics. There's a slight sadness, heart-tugging lines that suggest loss, reflecting back on times good, or what might have been. Mix that with all the magic moments, the times when you think a harmony or a guitar sound is absolutely dead on, and you have the alchemy that makes for your new favourite album.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).