Ohio born Joshua Radin may still be a relative unknown on the British Isles, but he is much celebrated Stateside. Having got his big break when his friend Cary Brothers played his song “Winter” to Scrubs star Zach Braff, who then used it in a series. Recognition was almost immediate, with Radin signing to Columbia in 2006. Soon enough Radin could be heard in the background on everything from Grey’s Anatomy to So You Think You Can Dance. Current American Idol host Ellen Degeneres even asked Radin to perform at her wedding, having been so impressed by his performance on her chat show. With celebrity pedigree backing him in every corner, it was inevitable that Radin would become a household name himself. However, the independently minded Radin fell out with Columbia when they asked him to record a radio-friendly single for second album Simple Times. He refused and released the record independently in its original form back in 2008. Two years later, having nevertheless attained success Stateside, it is with his non-radio friendly folk that Joshua Radin is attacking the British music scene.
Radin doesn’t get the consistency quite right.
Columbia had a point, Radin’s Simple Times doesn’t boast a single radio hit. The louche musings of a singer/songwriter have often been altered by some executive with mixed results. Radin wasn’t interested in so-called ‘selling out’, but perhaps he might have benefited from a bit of tweaking. Simple Times is simply bland. Radin boasts all the ingredients: interesting and relatable lyrics, competent (if occasionally monotone) composition and even Patty Griffin making a guest appearance, but somehow Radin doesn’t get the consistency quite right.
The real problem with Simple Times is that it simply isn’t memorable. Radin boasts a smooth, crisp vocal but sets it to a consistently similar backdrop. By the time you reach the third track you have in fact heard the whole album. There are exceptions, most notably when Patty Griffin comes aboard for “You Got Growin’ Up To Do”, but these moments of redemption are too few and far between to have any real impact.