Andy White Boy 40

Belfast-born singer-songwriter Andy White grew up in his political writer father’s house, influenced by a piano-playing grandmother amidst a backdrop of political and religious violence, so his die was largely pre-cast. Hearing John Lennon at a tender age pushed him over the edge. His anger over the world’s state is tempered by his more romantically poetic leanings, yet it fuels his desire for change as it fires his beliefs. Stints with ALT (Tim Finn and Hothouse Flower Liam O’Maonlai) have had a profound influence on his musical direction, judging from the ethereal pop revelation coming through my speakers. An edgy, enraged voice of protest has been replaced by a thoughtful spirit mining the stratosphere for visions of hope and a yearning for enlightenment, despite a climate of terrorism, war and social unrest. Playing all the instruments himself, Boy 40 is a spectacular achievement. "The Fortune Teller’s Right” is a highlight, countering the chaos of our time. "Canadian Greyhound” hilariously documents the tedium of bussing across Alberta’s big sky country with little to watch save a Jim Carrey movie. "When Will You Learn” is an intoxicating, pro-love/pro-God chant that goes positively stratospheric, given the production dynamism of Simon Polinski (the Church). It takes a while to sink in its deep teeth. Stick with it. (True North)