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Tod Hughes – Time Slow Down – Album Review

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Time Slow Down CD Cover

There’s a stronger lyrical demand on singer-songwriters, with less grandeur behind the music and tones cleaner the pressure is high. Tod Hughes manages this pressure on Time Slow Down mixing parts country and Sam Roberts to craft an album that while occasionally melodically bland, always has a lyric to crack a smile.

Opener “Time Slow Down” moves on a calm country shuffle before every catchy chorus. It’s the instrumental jams and the breakdown bridge however that really give the track its soul and standout moments. There’s a dark swing to “One Of A Kind” that gives it a deceiving air of mystery, as the track’s repetitive nature gets old fast, it too gains some redemption from a short-lived bridge and instrumental jam that is too little too late.

The lyrical prowess comes out on “Nothing To Obscure” where Hughes looks at how people over-think everything. Although the melodies are mostly straightforward the lyrical content gives the song enough push to keep it going. “Drinking Coffee In A Hipster Place” takes on a smooth pop jazz feel and comments on dealing with being trendy. Over the course of the track the groove becomes more infectious and it becomes less and less clear whether Hughes is using hipster as a slam or self-referential term.

There’s a Sam Roberts tinge to the verses of “Coming Home To You” and then an almost too poppy chorus melody that borders on cheesy in its delivery as the song’s tone doesn’t fully elicit the grandeur that usually goes with such a cliché hook. “Is It Really Fair” is the one track on the album that is mediocre by any means, although there’s an undeniable catchy sound to its choruses. It suffers from a generic guitar line and vocals that don’t add anything emotionally or lyrically.

Although melodically familiar, there’s a charm to “Real You And Me” between the sweet sound of its instruments and lyrics that are too easy to relate to. If one can get through the opening verse about sitting in a chair “Worth Waiting For” is one of the best tracks on the album. Every section works well, the lyrics are playful and instrumentation driving.

Closing on “The Darkness That Cries” the album ends on a sombre note, lyrics reflecting on the mistakes of the past. Sweet violin breaks and a crowd chant end the track on a bittersweet note that elicits some of the strongest emotions of the album.