Billy Shaddoxâ€™s 2013 solo release, Golden Fate, threaded an Americana base with double-tracked vocals that echoed the country-inflected early â€˜70s soft-rock of acts like Lobo, America and Gallery. His second album follows a similar path, mixing unabashed pop with rootsier fare that moves the banjo and guitar forward. Shaddoxâ€™s voice is a flexible instrument that sings dreamily on the opening title track, but adds a subtle husk for the shuffle â€œFeels Like Home.â€ The latter features stomping bass and a terrific electric piano solo before the accompaniment breaks down and reconstitutes itself.
Thereâ€™s a taste of power pop in â€œMy Hands Donâ€™t Lieâ€ and hints of Badfinger and Elliot Smith in the summery â€œFireflies,â€ but the modern productions keep from turning these songs into nostalgia. He glances backward for a reference point, but keeps his view straight ahead as he sings â€œyou can never look back, and the future is your friendâ€ on â€œGolden Coast.â€ When Shaddox howls, itâ€™s optimistic and upbeat, with rising melodies and lyrics that question limitations. Heâ€™s as comfortable with raucous electric guitar as he is with fingerpicked acoustic, and his arrangements are incredibly dynamic. This is a real sleeper! [Â©2015 Hyperbolium]