Tea & Sympathy
'Take my wife.' No, if you're reading this thinking that a certain chubby comedian had put some of his rather questionable views to music, prepare to be disappointed. I know I was, because even an hour of mother-in-law jokes is preferable to this collection of dull country-rock.
Bernard Fanning is the front man of Australian rock band Powderfinger, who are apparently quite the big thing Down Under, but after listening to Tea and Sympathy, you may not be able to fathom why. The fourteen tracks drift by largely unnoticed, a fairly large musical pallette, folk guitars, strings, piano, is blanched into banality by uber-smooth production values, and cliched, "cat-sat-on-the-mat" lyrics.
"Hope & Validation" is the most horrific track on offer, the country-lite feel and wince-inducing lyrics make it sound like something you'd hear on one of those obscure Christian Evangelist Satellite TV channels, or at a fundraiser for the GOP.
"Wish You Well" was a mega-hit in Australia despite the fact that it must be a discarded Counting Crows b-side, and "Sleeping Rough" is so bland and docile it makes Dave Matthews Band sound like Pantera.
The only saving grace, and a scant one at that, is "Down to the River", which has reverb soaked guitar bursts that threaten to raise the excitement level from dead to comatose, if only for a minute. On the whole, though, this is an incredibly dull offering, that should only appeal to those who think Kenny Chesney is "where it's at."