Royal Wood Tall Tales

On his first full-length album, Toronto’s Royal Wood sets his sights on making a grand pop album and just plain goes for it. The ambitious Tall Tales finds the multi-talented instrumentalist marking the same territory as Ron Sexsmith in his vocal style and phrasing, while beefing up his sound with a reckless inventiveness that recalls the Beatles. Indeed, there are many ear-catching sounds snaking their way through Wood’s lush pastiches of music that only bolster his infectious lyricism. Take heed now; if you let poppy numbers like "The Spirits And I” and "Once” get into your head, they will not leave. Ditto for an easy ballad like "Sway” or the rollicking ode "Suzanne.” It goes on and on really, so that every song is a charmer in its own right. Armed with a killer band of innovative musicians, Wood makes releasing a great first album look effortless. Those on the watch for the "next big thing” may be wise to keep their eyes on Royal Wood. (Sherpa)