Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., Sept. 2, 2005
Love Songs: For & Against (Small and Nimble)
Love's converse is not hate. It's fear, which engenders ignorance, hatred, et al. A challenging theme, but Guy Forsyth ain't the passive kind, even if he could release a standard blues rock disc and tour Europe until his visa expired. But the Austin Music Award-winner part midway hawker, part midnight rambler believes in art as expression, as transcendent vehicle, and this conviction drips from his fifth long player. Joining passion psalms about love at first sight ("Beautiful Mistake") and mother-child love ("Brand New Day") are poems about war ("Mamma's Favorite"), relational fright ("On My Own"), and the dread of unchecked commercialism ("105"). Stylistically, the 13 cuts are absolute Guy: blues stalks with rock, pop, jazz, and singer-songwriter blooms. Americana. The opening talking blues sing-along, "Long, Long Time," has garnered the attention of KGSR and Dell Jukebox ironic, given its anti-establishment bent. Yet for all his gravity, Forsyth's not a moper: Love Songs closes with the Tin Pan Alley booty call "Shake It in a Circular Motion." Not many artists can tackle the simple yet thorny concept of love and its cipher, let alone with such composure and vigor. Reason one why Love Songs is Forsyth's best album so far.