Love Will Find You
By Jim Simpson
Looking like the love child of K.D. Lang and Morrissey — like that’d ever happen; maybe he’s Jesus, miracle birth and all — the young Brit has been touted as this century’s Roy Orbison, Truth be told, Findlay Brown sounds more like Nick Lowe crooning sappy ballads, but without the wit (therein lies the Orbison comparison). Love Will Find You, Brown’s U.S. debut, is straight-forward pop mimeography, just as his 2007 U.K. release, Separated By The Sea, was to early ‘60s folk. From that album, “Come Home” is pure Simon & Garfunkel and was used in a British Mastercard ad.
He has silky tenor pipes, to be sure, with 1960s pop-smooth sensibilities dipped in syrupy melodies and swelling violins. “Everybody Needs Love” could be straight out of To Sir With Love, and “Teardrops Lost in the Rain”’ opens with a riff identical to the theme from Midnight Cowboy. Brown is a quick study.
A self-proclaimed “music obsessive,” he’s studied ‘60s American pop music with the intense fervor of a man with Asperger’s Syndrome. According to his bio, Brown says, “Over the past few years, I’ve been really interested in the Brill Building crowd, you know, the old-school songwriters. When I’m writing music, I want to write hits. With my references from the ’60s, it’s the ’60s pop music I’m aspiring to, and the best songwriters are the Bacharachs and the Davids, the Neil Diamonds, the Carole Kings. That was their job. Part of the charm of those kinds of songs is that they sound so simple, so poppy, so instant. But it’s only a seeming simplicity; they are challenging indeed to write.”
Brown doesn’t reveal his Orbison chops until near the end of the album with “I Still Want You” with its marching, chin-up bravado masking a trembling stiff upper lip and shimmery, tear-filled eyes. “I’m in trouble without you. ‘Cause you give me something I need.” The song ends with an awkward abruptness. Did she hang up the phone?
As a tribute to the pre-psychedelic ‘60s grand operatic pop music, this album hits its mark. But the music is the centerpiece, not the lyrics. Many of the tracks seem destined for film soundtracks or Volkswagen commercials.
Findlay Brown opens for Shelby Lynne at Variety Playhouse on May 15. Tickets are on sale now HERE.