Fire Note Says: Forever Endeavor revels in all of its melancholy glory!
Album Review: Forever Endeavor, the 12th album from Ron Sexsmith, finds the Canadian singer/songwriter in an even more reflective mood than normal. While he has never been accused of being upbeat, a throat cancer scare in 2011 has given Sexsmith reason to ruminate on death and to become very introspective with his songwriting. The rich production from Mitchell Froom serves these songs well. His touches of strings and horns add a greater degree of melancholia that suits Sexsmith’s mood.
There are numerous highlights on the record, however, you should be warned that the record, while gorgeous, can be difficult to get through in one sitting. It works fantastic as background music, but when you sit and listen intently, you can get lost in the arrangements, and drift off a bit. At least that was true for me, so I found that breaking the album up into 4 or 5 song chunks worked best for me, and that’s why I dinged it a half headphone on the rating.
“Snake Road” is the most uptempo number on the record, it features some great horn lines to go along with Sexsmith’s strummed acoustic guitar, and witty vocals. Above all else he writes great pop melodies, similar to Elliott Smith, or dare I say, the Macca himself (who is allegedly a fan). “Nowhere to Go” starts the album off on a perfect note. Upon hearing the french horn at the opening, you immediately know what kind of record you are in for. The song itself is dark, yet oddly uplifting in the sense that it’s easy to find comfort in the song. Its melody is gorgeous, and the lyrical imagery is haunting and achingly beautiful. “Blind Eye” is my favorite track on Forever Endeavor, it’s a perfect marriage of lyrical imagery, melody and production, all coming together and serving the song equally. No element of the song is more important than the other, they are in perfect symmetry, and the effect is devastating.
There’s a reason why Ron Sexsmith counts people like McCartney, Costello, and Cohen as fans. He writes intelligent, heartfelt, pop music that is really from a different time. Would he have been more popular in the 70’s? Potentially, at least he would have had a chance to be more of a household name then than he does now. I don’t know what the demographic for this music is anymore, and that’s a shame, because this is top shelf stuff, that deserves to be heard by more ears than probably will be exposed to it, unfortunately.
Key Tracks: “Blind Eye”, “Sneak Out The Back Door”, “Nowhere To Go”
Artists With Similar Fire: Elliott Smith / Kelley Stoltz / Elvis Costello
Ron Sexsmith Website
Ron Sexsmith Facebook
Cooking Vinyl Records
-Reviewed by Kevin Poindexter