All this talk of getting older, it’s getting Ron down. In his mid-30s and this record being only his third LP, rock stardom has passed him by. Still, he seems to have accepted his fate.
So it’s with a hint of resignation that ‘Whereabouts’ finds Canadian Sexsmith tentatively sticking toes into a more elaborate sound pool than his previous efforts. Large strings and brass combine with his nasal, detached vocal style on opener ‘Still Time’, displaying not just the obvious influences of Dylan and Harry Nilsson, but also more recent pathos merchants Embrace.
, he sings. He’s always a passer-by, only ever visiting rather than belonging.
Songwriting like this is often tediously described as a [I]craft[/I], as if music like this is an arcane, boring exercise like thatching houses or restoring classic cars. That attitude underestimates him. Sexsmith may never fear you out like Smog, but he’ll never bore you like Clapton. Yeah, he knows the world’s not bothered, but ‘Whereabouts’ proves he’s happy enough to get on with it as it passes him by.