Kevin Quain Hangover Honeymoon

It's always dicey when an artist is so obviously influenced by another: their voice, their arrangements, their songwriting. It's worse when the influence is someone as idiosyncratic as Tom Waits. But miraculously, Toronto singer/songwriter Kevin Quain transcends the painfully obvious comparison point, even if the similarities (mostly to Rain Dogs) are often overwhelming. This is because Quain happens to write great songs - colourful narratives set to haunting, rousing melodies, always delivered with an injection of genuine soul, the same kind that elevated the Pogues above being just another motley crew of imitative rabble-rousers. The world doesn't need another wannabe who name-checks Waits to sound hip; it could, however, use people like Quain who take the time to learn what makes a master. Hopefully, he'll come into his own on his next recording. (Independent)