Monday, August 22, 2011

Tony Cox: On the Way

By: Rinjo Njori

Tony Cox follows up 2009’s Unpublished with the same formula but offers up a surprise or two. On the Way, Cox’s sophomore effort, draws on further inspiration from R&B and 70s rock. Joining Cox again are Nigel Clark (vocals, keys, and bass) and Darren Finlan (drums). Their contribution on vocals and rhythm section provide continuity from Unpublished.

The fun, tongue in cheek "We'll Get High" incorporates some horns and falsetto back up vocals that give the song a 70s R&B feel in the vein of Paul Weller. "Dropped Me a Like a Stone" has similar elements but doesn't come together like "We'll Get High." "Hold Me Angeline" and "Alicia" use the classic British Invasion formula but Cox wisely shakes it up a little with the more contemporary "Alicia." The title track is reminiscent of The Dream Academy with more obvious nods to the Beach Boys. The vocal harmonies on the whole album are simply amazing. Each voice is unique and brings something extra to the song. Far too often artists throw in some additional vocals and it can sound out of place. "The Way" and "Feel the Ride" use vocal harmonies in different ways. The former uses layer after layer on the verse and chorus. The latter uses them for the most part on the verse. Either way Cox ably wielded this instrument in the studio only making this album better.

On The Way really has only one flaw, not enough songs. Cox's latest batch of songs find the right balance, but the nine tracks are over far too quickly. Cox, Clark and Finlan as a team have certainly come together and hit all the right notes. Let's just hope Tony and the boys don't make us wait so long the next time.

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