If you’re looking for a musician who has an eerie similarity to Gordon Lightfoot, a good sense of humour, and an incredible list of skilled musicians to build a wonderful wall of sound for his latest album release ‘Spark‘, then Todd Warner Moore is the guy for you. There is something about this guy’s sound that brings me back to some classic Lightfoot vibes while still keeping in the frame of modern-day folk.
Moore is said to have a sort of Van Morrison sound as well as a Dylan sound and while I can pick out moments of those guys for sure, I really do think that there is a much deeper Lightfoot feel there, whether or not that was intentional. After a rather thought-provoking prologue, the album opens with the titular song ‘Spark‘ which features a rather subdued acoustic run and minimal percussion underneath some fairly affected vocals which, thankfully, do not stick around for the entirety of the album. The harmonies in this song and throughout the album are a great addition to this project which features about a dozen instruments.
Moore has a ‘Gift‘ for creating music that seems to draw one back into the past while still keeping them mindful of the present. This is done via the instrumental choices, the effects layered onto them and, of course, the composition of the song itself.
A very interesting song seems to be a bit of a recipe of sorts, all about cooking noodles. This one struck me as a little out of the feel of the rest of the album but I did have a great chuckle, to be sure. It didn’t so much stand out because of the composition. That fit just right, but the lyrics hit me right away. That being said, this interesting recipe for ‘Noodles‘ is not just some joke song. It’s a rather honest tune about how moods can change with food. And let’s be honest…he’s not wrong. Sure, the track does come across as fairly ridiculous but a good meal can change a lot about one’s mindset.
One of my favourite tracks on the album is, without question, ‘Drift Awake‘. There is something about this ballad, heavily laced with beautiful strings and high harmonies that really draws me in. The chorus hits me pretty hard and the composition of the song itself reminds me a bit of a Simon & Garfunkel tune. There is a quality to this tune that really hits me in the heart. The simplicity of the song itself in composition with the added complexities of the instrumentation makes it a great song for repetitive listening.
There are certainly more notable tunes on this 15-track album (including prologue, epilogue and bonus track), but I’m not going to dive into each and every one of these tracks. It would be far easier to understand just what it is that Todd Warner Moore is going for if you listen to the album yourself right HERE. The prologue and epilogue are very interesting ways for Moore to engage with the listener by way of introduction to the album and as a way to then put the listener to rest after having taken in the enchanting music contained in the album.
I’m sorry for the spoiler here but there is, as I’ve said, a bonus track at the end of the album and it features the Tea Thieves. This track, called ‘The Lens‘, was apparently recorded live in a garden in Wales. It’s got a very interesting darkness shadowing it and a pretty sharp edge to go with its klezmer-meets-waltz-like quality. The whole album is worth the listen just to get to this track, though the whole album itself is an enjoyable listen for those who love a good dose of 70s-style folk.