Dan Israel Time I Get Home

From a guy I once crucified over the calibre of his vocals fronting his Minneapolis band, the Cultivators, comes a solo record that makes this same voice the hero. Time I Get Home is an unqualified victory for Dan Israel as he stands squarely on both feet and delivers the goods that careers are made of. From the near-perfect opening track, "Come To Me,” all the way through to the album’s full band closer, "Windowsill,” Israel proves himself a worthy singer, songwriter and hook smith. His world-weary vocals approximate a collision of Dylan, Costello and, at times, Lou Reed — quite a happy accident. Flawed instruments and all, they succeed through their abilities to craft timeless songs. His lyrics are smartly-hued and his ability to lodge a hook is now second nature. Left unchecked by his alt-country chums, Israel is free to indulge himself in his minor fixations for everything from the Beatles to the Kinks, while doling out those introspective moments that his Cultivators don’t cultivate, which is our gain. "Down That Line” is another gem that, with its Band-like snare and ‘basement recording’ charm, further underlines Israel’s credibility as an honest-to-goodness roots-rock originator. His heart is on his sleeve and the flaws, although they are visible, serve to underline the sincerity of his approach. Add to this the fact that Israel serves up a heaping helping of diversity across 13 original tracks and you get the feeling that he’s only just begun. Thank goodness. (Electone)