After 20 years in the music business, Sexsmith’s 2011 album Long Player Late Bloomer brought him closer to the mainstream than ever, but its success was tempered by a health scare later the same year. Doctors found a lump on his throat, and for the next few months “the spectre of death”, as he put it, inspired this set of songs on the themes of mortality and taking stock.
Thankfully given the all-clear, the Canadian organised his thoughts into a more introspective album than the pop jangle of its predecessor. Sexmith “counts his blessings… and thanks lucky stars” on Nowhere Is, replays episodes he regrets on Snake Road and takes selfish humanity to task on Blind Eye. Yet for every sombre reflection there’s an equally optimistic counterpoint, such as the marital bliss of She Does My Heart Good or the celebration of simple pleasures Me Myself And Wine.
Dispensing with the power-pop amplification of much of … Late Bloomer, Sexsmith’s stripped-down acoustic vignettes are closer to material from 1997’s Other Songs, albeit with the addition of subtle strings that occasionally reference Jimmy Webb’s work. What remains a constant is the warm murmur of the voice delivering tales from the heart with a literary confidence few in his field can match.