BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

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Teddy Thompson: In My Arms
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

This son of Richard and Linda keeps good company: among his friends and fellow travellers are the Wainwrights (Rufus, Martha, and their father Loudon), guitarist Marc Ribot, the Band's Garth Hudson and other hip congnoscenti.
His last album Upfront and Down Low was mostly a country covers outing. And despite possessing the same kind of effete world weariness and post-sexual languor that infects the work of Rufus Wainwright, for this exceptional outing Thompson ties his intelligent lyrics to melodies that grab on the first hearing.
He calls it his pop album and it is, if your definition of pop allows for suggestions of the Beatles, show tunes, Neil Finn balladry, Jackson Browne folk-rock, Eagles-like guitar strum, country-twang, supporting string sections, guitar solos, big band rock . . .
Thompson also sounds in a (slightly) better place and although there are lyrics here which betray an astute self-deflation and wry humour, he also sings of happiness and love, and the generally up-tempo songs or classic melodic flow make for an album that will have you from the opening track.
Already in the list of this year's Best of Elsewhere.    

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Chris - Dec 19, 2008

My favourite pop record of 2008! While he doesn't have the body of work that his Dad does, Teddy firmly establishes himself as one of the finest popular songwriters around - think Elvis Costello or Neil Finn at their finest. Marius de Vries' production never takes centre stage but rather provides the perfect canvas to show the songs at their best. If radio programmers cared about songcraft then songs like 'In My Arms' and 'Don't Know What I Was Thinking' would be all over the airwaves.

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