April 20, 2005

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Theo Eastwind, The O
Mia Mind Music, 2006

A busker/dealer of songs that sprout from his clinical interest in (and monk-like reverence for) his New York subway audience, Eastwind is a walking theoretical about late-night collaborations between Sting, Jimmy Barnes and Jack Johnson. The confident chill-pop routed through this effort is hugely accessible, revealing a pure talent for neo-’70s that owes little to the Austria transplant’s personal Jeff Buckley addiction — it’s Maroon 5 remanded to a John Fogerty boot camp (“Set-up,” “Anabelle”), The Police on a Lilys bender (“Head Again,” “Smoke”), nu-mod bouncing from Frampton after too many Marlboro Lights (“Ted Mahoney”). Eastwind’s karmic backstory involves a bakery manager’s job in America that vanished the minute he stepped off the boat, leaving him with nothing but his genetic makeup, a piquant combination of Artful Dodger survivalist and boisterous old-countryman. Artistically he’s unafraid to let his inner Chris Cornell stomp around flexing its throat (“So Far”), but in the end he’s programmed to lure coins of kindness into his guitar case, a hard-coded sensibility that keeps the album’s bass lines and multi-tracking sparse and most of the songs easy nuts to crack live. B+

— Eric W. Saeger


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