We first heard from Todd Underwood a year ago, with the release of his single ‘Panic.” That track was a high-energy, big production Progressive Rock song. Fat drums and loud guitars backed up Todd’s Police-era, Sting-inspired vocals. The prolific artist has released two albums since then, including last year’s “Color and Contrast.” That album too featured layers of electric instruments woven together into twelve powerful Alt-Rock songs.
Todd’s new record is something completely different. “Reflectings Acustico” is an emotionally complex collection of eleven entirely acoustic tracks. Here we are presented with the singer and his songs, unencumbered by studio wizardry or high tech adornments. Todd explains, “I decided to break it down and go all organic acoustic for this album and focus on just the singing and songwriting.”
From romances faded to lives lost, the album deals in endings, transitions, and unrequited longings. Delivering impeccable guitar and vocal performances throughout, the songwriter uses lyrical imagery and subdued moods to reflect on pasts near and far. As he sings on the track “Reflectings,” the record examines, “All the time lost among the fragments of our lives.”
Although every track on the album is performed primarily on acoustic guitar, Todd experiments fluidly with Rock and Pop styles from the past few decades. The record’s two lead off tracks; “Back to You” and “Forgot to Worry,” with their 3/4 rhythms and flashes of finger picked guitar, each toy with both Celtic music and Classic Rock. The latter track introduces some slick harmonies and a bit of sound Zen advice.
A number of songs dig deeply into Todd’s obviously extensive musical vocabulary. Tracks like “You Mean Everything to Me,” and “Raindrop Falling ” combine melodic Jazz chord progressions with complex yet accessible song structure. “Wishing You the Best ” and “Drift Away” dip their toes into Blues and Country, respectively.
“One Lovely Day” is the most upbeat song. With elements of Pop and Bossa Nova, I can imagine the singer and a small troupe of musicians sitting in the sand, performing the tune on some Brazillian beach. Lyrically, many of the tracks, like “Where I Sail From,” use visual memories and metaphysical metaphors to reflect on life. The deepest emotional moments come in the quietest spaces of melancholy numbers like “The Moment” and “Reflectings.”
Todd Underwood is an extremely talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has been playing, writing and recording for over thirty-five years. His music has been featured on television, movie soundtracks and more. “Reflectings Acustico” is evidence of an artist confident enough to reinvent his own sound. The result is a beautiful and deeply personal record.