Joshua Radin - Simple Times
Review by Jack Foley
SCRUBS star Zach Braff has been a long-time champion of the singer-songwriting skills of Joshua Radin. When he heard a demo of Radin’s song Winter, he placed it on the hit show, and subsequently followed that up by placing four more songs on the medical comedy.
As Braff’s friendship with Radin grew, the actor also directed and appeared in Radin’s first promo, prompting Radin to return the favour and appear in Braff’s movie Garden State. It’s a match made in heaven and one that’s indicative of Braff’s keen ear for music.
Braff, of course, is no stranger to championing bands. He has a huge MySpace following, where he regularly recommends new bands, and has been a firm favourite of The Shins. Well, like The Shins… Joshua Radin is a tip worth taking.
His sophomore album, Simple Times, is an appealing gem that’s packed with highlights and potential soundtrack moments (be it for movies or TV).
Best described as a folk rock and acoustic performer, Radin’s music is capable of optimism (Brand New Day) and beautiful intimacy (I’d Rather Be With You). He barely strikes a dud note on the album.
Opener and single One Of Those Days is a shimmering entry point, huskily delivered in an acoustic style that’s reminiscent of classic songwriters such as Art & Garfunkel. It’s utterly charming.
It’s followed by the aforementioned I’d Rather Be With You, a poignant love song that reflects on a beautiful relationship and layers on movie-style imagery. It’s a worthy companion piece for Jack Johnson’s Better Together and – in my humble opinion – a future first dance wedding song for many, many couples.
And while Radin’s music seems to favour the slow-burning acoustic style that makes further Johnson and even Newton Faulkner comparisons almost inevitable, he’s capable of mixing it up, too, and rocking out a little. Brand New Day, for instance, strikes an immediate note of sunshine positivity thanks to its mandolin-style strumming and breezy optimism, while Vegetable Car is a feel-good rock song that offers another instant highlight.
Hammond organs combine with guitars on the funky Free Of Me, which adopts a Jason Mraz-style energy, while Patty Griffin crops up to offer a beautifully judged boy-girl vocal trade off on the slow-burning charmer that is You Got Growin’ Up To Do.
We Are Okay, meanwhile, drops some funky percussion and an upbeat energy that pleasantly shuffles the listener into final offering No Envy, No Fear, and a disarmingly effective album closer.
Five thousand copies of Simple Times have already been sold in the UK through iTunes alone with, until now, no exposure, record company or promotional team. Don’t be surprised to find Radin becoming a new household name soon. He’s a richly talented singer-songwriter who thoroughly deserves to become embraced.
Download picks: One Of Those Days, I’d Rather Be With You, Vegetable Car, Free Of Me, We Are Okay, No Envy, No Fear
- Buy it (Amazon)
- Joshua Radin - The IndieLondon interview
- Simple Times reviewed
- Joshua Radin Photo Gallery