Seth Swirsky Instant Pleasure

Having, for many years now, played the thanklessly anonymous role as behind-the-scenes songwriter for artists from Emmy Lou Harris to Tina Turner, Air Supply and Olivia Newton-John, Seth Swirsky’s Instant Pleasure marks the first time he’s tackled his own songs on record. It’s not hard to hear why Swirsky has been a favourite for bubble-gum MOR pop artists everywhere, as most of these tracks gleam with precise, prefab pop hooks. The title track, previously recorded by Rufus Wainwright on the Big Daddy soundtrack, opens the record with its most infectious melody, but is unfortunately not indicative of the album as a whole. Most of these tracks just go to argue why he stayed behind the scenes all these years, as his uneven collection of songs — the worst of which being the penned-for-Ringo-Starr "It’s Still Love” — is performed with a severe lack of personality that his covering artists had offered. It just doesn’t feel like the jack-of-all-trades (he’s also a successful visual artist and author) is pushing himself, instead relying on his tricks of old, few of which are cutting it here. (EMI)