figure 8
written by ?, taken from uk observer

he's the archetypal singer/songwriter, a wispy voiced super-sensitive soul, always in retreat from romance, forever focused on his naval and fretboard. little has changed on this his fifth album. his lyrical material is the same beautiful, bitter stuff from which leonard cohen and joni mitchell built their careers, though smith is gauche by comparison, and therein lies part of his appeal.

smith still presents himself as a shambling slacker, despite the success he enjoyed from the soundtrack to good will hunting. he remains happy to play his shows solo, but on record his accompaniments have grown from strumalongs to multi-tracked vocal with string arrangements and a beatlesque flavour. smith's homage is better than most, though adopting a scouse [liverpool] accent for 'i better be quiet now' is a bit much. what smith shares with the great singer songwriters is his mixture of melody and conversational phrase, which give figure 8 a jaunty but bitter sweet mood. he could also use a more expansive emotonal range, but these songs of loss slip down easily.

thanks to mike