Andy Smythe,
Last Throes of Summer
(Dreaming Element, 2005)

The award for the most wittily titled album of 2005 must go to Last Throes of Summer by Andy Smythe.

The compositions come straight from the singer and are all the better for this. Smythe has an ear for words and a knack for writing well about the ordinary things of life.

"Our Gang" is an excellent example of this as he paints a recent picture of childhood in England. No doubt all childhood memories will be kindled by the lyrics of stone throwing and fighting with friends.

A favourite song for me is "Let's Fall in Love Again," a gentle, quiet and thoughtful piece. The universality of the American Indian experience is evident as this English singer tells their sad tale on "No Heroes."

Another "could be" classic is the wonderful "Maid of the Loch." Given enough exposure, this could become a standard. "Brothers" is a story-song telling a sad tale of loss. The marriage of lyrics and the simple melody is electric in telling the tale.

The album ends with the title track. Here Smythe brings us into the pastoral English countryside and describes a satisfied life to perfection.

Andy Smythe is a name to watch and a singer to listen to. The album is available through his website, where you can preview some tracks before purchasing.

by Nicky Rossiter
7 January 2006

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