Alexi Murdoch – Towards The Sun (City Slang)

May 5, 2011 by  

Alexi Murdoch is an unlikely superstar, but just a few years ago he was knocking on the door of stardom like a shy child asking next door for his ball back.

Not surprisingly then it seems, that Murdoch has drifted off the map of late, his only outing since his 2006 debut ‘Time Without Consequence’, a contribution in the form of a soundtrack to the 2009 film ‘Away We Go’. A number of tracks from that soundtrack were lifted from ‘Time Without Consequence’ but a handful of new songs that were first introduced then now appear on this, Murdoch’s long awaited second LP.

For fans and critics alike, it’s been well worth the wait. In terms of sound, it’s typical Murdoch, in the sense that there is not much drastically different from the staple stripped back sound and casual playing style. It’s the same kind of sound that opened him up to the Californian radio waves and endeared him to the quiet masses as his seminal track ‘Orange Sky’ became the go-to backdrop for every indie film or American TV show’s reflective swansong moment. The song it seemed was made for this type of moment, and has since set up residency on the playlists of the O.C. generation, guaranteeing Murdoch status as a modern day acoustic legend.

Although probably deliberate, ‘Towards the Sun’ has no ‘Orange Sky’ per se, therefore it is going to struggle to reach the mainstream highs previously gained, but never fear as there are some great songs to be found here. I doubt mega-stardom is what’s truly considered hallowed ground for the well-travelled troubadour. Instead, what we do get is a captivating feel of the world according to Alexi Murdoch. To get an idea of where the music comes from, we have to take into account the man. Almost reclusive in attitude towards public profile, he spends his time between New York and his native Scotland, where he works on his small fishing boat and it’s this down-to-earth quality which really seeps through over the songs.

Also notable is the nature in which ‘Towards the Sun’ was recorded. The album was captured solo during intimate moments whilst on tour; additional instruments and musicians were only added later as overdubs so the focus is drawn to Murdoch’s songwriting.

As such, you get a real feeling of intimacy and retreat in this record, but it is a hopeful and reflective vibe. It’s not an album full of songs that are isolated nor do they smack of solitude and loneliness. It’s more like a private viewing that has been laid on for you and in turn, it feels like this record was created for the fans – the listeners who have remained loyal through both broad and barren times alike. If you were a fan before, then this is your reward for hanging in there. If you weren’t before, then this is a great place to start.

[rating:4]


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