David Vandervelde Waiting for the Sunrise(Secretly Canadian) Buy it from Insound
David Vandervelde seems like time has passed him by a bit. He feeds off nostalgia for a pleasant early 70’s Southern California singer-songwriter archetype. But don’t worry, this guy is harmless enough. Even the album title, Waiting for the Sunrise, and the sun-bleached cover photo indicate the mellow trip that’s contained inside. Vandervelde’s style has turned from the glam-rock chic of his debut, The Moonstation House Band to a wide and rootsy approach. While the shift sounds effortless and genuine, it also grows routine.
With lazy acoustic strums, bright Hammond organs and vocals that echo before trailing off, opener I Will Be Fine drifts by nicely enough. California Breezes is an aptly titled highlight, with some strong nostalgia-inducing hooks. Cryin’ Like the Rain starts out as a bluesy rocker only to employ a vaguely Beatlesque melody with pedestrian lyrics. Most of the tracks waft by just a little too passively after that as Vandervelde allows the songs to slowly dribble out of the speakers.
Whereas Vandervelde played all instruments on his first album, a capable band has been assembled to saunter through the material here, including Jay Bennet, a former member of Wilco (when Wilco was still relevant). The band sounds full, but Vandervelde’s strongpoint definitely is his voice. Unique in its higher-register reedy quality, it winds up being surprisingly strong. Basically, the songs that feature this benefit from it, while tracks that focus on drawn-out instrumental jams, like Lying in Bed, aren’t hard-hitting enough to be of interest.
Waiting for the Sunrise winds up being exactly what it intends to be, a relaxed throwback. You could easily have this album playing at some kind of midsummer family picnic and no one would be offended. Vandervelde possesses a strong voice and a definite place as a singer-songwriter, even if that place isn’t too far above the rest just yet.25 August, 2008 - 14:43 — Brett Oronzio