Tim O'Donovan is New Zealand-based musician who writes catchy indie pop songs and just happened to release his second EP entitled Burnt Cactus. I’ll admit upon first listen I wasn’t diggin’ what I was hearing but with some repeated spins I started to find its appeal. O'Donovan’s slightly cheesy but hopeful songs have the most in common with the band Spiritualized and even early Primal Scream.
There are a couple of missteps, so let’s get those out of the way first. O'Donovan’s vocals take a little getting used to and sometimes they could use a bit of polish and don’t sit too well in the mix. The glaring example of this is the first song “Stay.” The instrumentation feels a bit too soft while his vocals seemed to lay on top of the mix. This brings me to the other issue; the mixes are sometimes a bit muddy.
Like I said the songs get better with each passing listen and the second song “Will you be there?” is such a tune. O'Donovan’s vocals work better in the mix this time I around and sound solid when he repeats the lines “will you be there.” His delivery is good except on a couple of specific lines. “Everything I own” was a highlight amongst the four songs. The song is well written and contains the most infectious vocal melody on the album. It’s also a bit darker than the first two songs but works well with his voice.
The closer “What are you looking for?” isn’t a bad song but the mix itself suffers in a number of ways. The instrumentation sounds narrow and congested, which also unfortunately buries his vocals.
O'Donovan has some talent but he is in need of some tweaking here and there so his potential can be heard. The first place he should start is in the production quality. It’s inconsistent and that’s going to cause some issues for people who want to experience it from beginning to end. As far as songwriting O'Donovan has some skill and has a knack for writing catchy melodies. I’m looking forward too see how this artist develops.
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