Toronto scenester Driver has a smooth, Dan Fogelberg lilt to his voice that perfectly suits these acoustic folk tunes that occasionally verge towards Bill [smog] Callahan minimalism, but always offer a refreshing take on the lauded 70’s singer/songwriter folk scene. Martin Arnold’s wah-wah electric guitar spins intricate lines around Driver’s nylon picking on “No One Can Say Too Well” and his hurdy-gurdy adds a haunting, Eastern air to “When Were You In Mexico?”, while the cuddly, Betty Boopish backing from Jennifer Castle on “You Are Beside Me” and “On The Road” leaves the listener on the edge of his seat wondering where THAT came from and where exactly is this album taking me!
Driver is an exceptional picker (listen to the delirious opening to “Time and Trouble”), but his decision to adopt a creaking, falsetto gets in the way of a great tune – let’s face it, not too many singers beside Neil Young can make a living up in the stratosphere. I do prefer when he plays it straight, as on the wonderful little toetapping ditty, “It’s Nothing” and the jaunty two-step, “That’s Which Way The Waterfalls.”
Driver opts to toss in a few curveballs via the syncopated, jazzy experimentation of “Oh The World Between Us” that may appeal to Joan of Arc fans, but others may find it just as frustrating as those Chicagoans’ recent efforts. Driver rocks out on “Spinning Towers” (again greatly aided and abetted by Arnold’s sinewy electric flourishes), but his attempts to out-squeal Sigur Ros’ Jónsi is questionable – stick to your familiar octaves and the audience will be much kinder. Overall, it’s an intriguing offering from one of Canada’s most experimental artists at the peak of his considerable talents. Maybe not so much experimenting next time? That drooling, smooching bit with the balloon on the title track is a little too outré, even for those who appreciate the avant garde touches elsewhere. 7/10 -- Jeff Penczak (15 July, 2009)