Canadian Ian Sherwood is billed as "a guitar-playing, sax-blowing, crowd-pleasing looping singer/songwriter" which is a tad misleading. For one, his sax-blowing is mostly put on hold for this record and I don't hear too much looping either.
However, his fifth studio album, crisply produced by Daniel Ledwell, is most certainly designed to be a crowd-pleaser with its generous clutch of hummable melodies and sing-along choruses.
This is a more expansive and fully formed piece of work than the modest 8 songs and 25 minutes of his previous release, Everything To Go (2014). Bring The Light was originally released in September 2017 but has been reissued to coincide with a UK tour.
Like Father John Misty or Jonathan Wilson, Sherwood shows a deep affection for well-crafted 70s era commercial pop tones with the bulk of the 12 tunes being about searching, finding or losing love. In Firefly, for instance, and in spite of the carefree whistling, he sings of being tired of his own company and admitting "I could use a good woman to take me home".
Inevitably, when cupid strikes, things don't always pan out as hoped. This is illustrated by the self explanatory Don't Want To Leave and I See Red, a powerful slow-building song of faded passion.
Alongside such songs, there's some popular psychology about finding your own gold (Dig That Hole), realizing that you need to Know The Darkness to understand the light and recognizing how fragile we all are in We're Only Human.
There are songs about emotional trauma and neediness on this album but, primarily, light is a metaphor for the mindfulness and optimism as established by the slick opening track, Little Birds and the toe-tapping Hits Me Right.
There's no need for further deep analysis here. Sometimes all it takes is good songs and this record has them in spades.
Ian Sherwood's website