On Careless Thoughts, Toronto-based, multi-talented artist Ryan Driver is highly inquisitive. Driver questions how to find peace and see beauty in a volatile world, and he ruminates on the trouble love causes. Although these subjects are tinted with sadness, this is a good-humoured batch of songs, and Driver's reflections end up being a vehicle for celebration. As he sings on "The Seasons the Months and the Days": "If life has no meaning, then it means everything / so I'll try to treasure whatever it brings and whatever it is."
Careless Thoughts has a cinematic quality to it; the songs could be the soundtrack to an emotive drama or a beloved rom-com where the lovers get together at the end. With gentle plucks of a guitar, whispering strings and Driver's steady piano plods, these songs are a soft mix of jazz, folk and pop. On "Love," Driver's piano mirrors the downward tumble of becoming infatuated with somebody: "Some will fall for anything, I'll just fall for love," he sings. Opener "They Call This Everything" and later track "Olive Tree" are string-heavy sequences whose warmth and beauty are akin to a seemingly never-ending sunset.
On album highlight "It Must Be Dark Tonight," a playful folk tune and duet with Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station, Driver asks, "If you don't like trouble, my friend, then what is there left to life?" Here, as throughout Careless Thoughts, Driver resolves to find joy even in difficult times. He looks for light in the darkness, and encourages us to do the same. (Tin Angel)