Former child actor turned gruff-voiced singer-songwriter Alex Woodard’s second independently released CD shows the southern California native exploring themes of lost love and lost faith. “Love leads you blind, steals your reason,” he sings on the opening “Every Road.” This is solid pop rock with some nice guitar work.
Woodard is ably backed by a band that includes former members of The Posies, Fountains Of Wayne, and The Gigolo Aunts. Unfortunately, too often this record doesn’t hit the heights of those bands. A lack of personality and lyrical focus are the key problems. “All these memories are like movies / and the screen is on fire / I could use a little faith,” he sings on the clumsy, piano-based “Surround.” Songs like “Inside” meander a little too aimlessly as well. And occasionally the imagery is too heavy-handed. “These moments carve the space that one day holds your joy / god is holding the knife,” he sings on one song.
On the up side, “My Great Escape” has a nice build up, “Older” has an interesting chord progression, and “Other Than Roses” has some spooky slide guitar to recommend it. The fiddle-tinged “Chariot” also has its moments. And a couple of tunes at the end of the record show promise. “Waiting on a Ride” is a sweet song about hitchhiking on the road of life and trying to get to “someplace lovely” or Los Angeles, whichever comes first. “All I want is to believe in love / And all the pretty things,” Woodard sings. And “December 14,” with piano and cello complimenting overlapping vocals at least sounds a little different from the rest of the record. Saturn Returns isn’t a bad CD, but it’s not going to change your life, either.
Alex Woodard: http://www.alexwoodard.com