Well-crafted music which wavers on the edge of uniqueness is always appreciated, and that is exactly what Tim Smith offers up on Harbour.
Hailing from Montreal, Smith labels himself an alternative, folk rocker, and that is a pretty fair self-description.
Certainly there are songs here where you can hear the teachings of folk roots music coming to the forefront, such as the cut Left Behind. However, there are modern rock sensibilities at play here which allow the music to resonate for today.
Bloody Diamonds takes to the rock side of Smith's music more fully, yet there is an underpinning of blues roots at play in the tune as well.
Wrecord has that bluesy element at play as well.
The key for Smith is the ability to build with various musical blocks, yet never losing the listener because he goes to far one way, or the other.
The material is all held together with solid lyrics, again something which is an obvious homage to the folk side of things.
In terms of picking the best from among 14 cuts, that is a hard one. Swelling Tide is interesting vocally, as Smith pushes some interesting effects into the song.
The grittiness of Bloody Diamonds appeals to my ear as well.
Still when everything is factored in, Alley Cat is the song which combines the best lyrics, and the best elements of rock stylings. It is one Smith should be proud of.
Check it out at www.heartim.ca
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 15, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada