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‘On the Horizon’ provides a comfortable listen for listeners seeking a simple formula that delivers.

Music Review: TJ Doyle – ‘On the Horizon’

TJ Doyle

The inspirational alternative rock of On the Horizon, to be released next month, is TJ Doyle’s follow-up to his 2009 debut, The One True Thing. The album will sound both familiar and new in the combination of the very Neil Young-inspired vocals and the 1980s Eric Clapton and Sting-like melodies. In this release, Doyle reaches deeper into the realms of human experience to artfully address environmental issues and the world at large.

Doyle has found his niche, and he sticks to it. The tracks are quite homogenous in that they are composed of the same elements, with some variations here and there. It makes for a comfortable listen for those whose taste is the same, all the more that the quality of the album’s production and instrumentation are excellent. Most tracks begin slower than they end, thanks to a backing choir that kicks in at or around the first chorus, and an electric guitar solo adds to the “soaring” factor of many of them at various moments.

There are some fluctuations, but very mild ones: “Rosemary’s Wishes” and “Everything” have a hint of country ballad to them, while the sound in “Living in Our Dream” and “Favorite Places” are a little bit closer to what one would hear nowadays on a pop rock radio station. “Something for You” brings the biggest change, with a cello kicking things off and carrying more of the tune.

The desire for a better world is Doyle’s main inspiration but he doesn’t shy away from its problems. In “Favorite Places”, he shares how he favors going to reflect in the midst of nature but that, “With every new disaster/The earth cries in pain/If we don’t learn to care for her/We’ll lose our favorite place”. And yet, the lyrics are for the most part quite sweet and endearing in their relentless optimism.

In “Cold Rain”, Doyle calls for the “rain, rain” to “go away” while thanking it “for the cold water on [his] face”. This makes for one of the potentially darkest moments in the album, when Doyle discusses loneliness and despair in “We Are Here”, to be instead inspiring when he encourages listeners to proclaim to “Raise [their] arms into the air/Say [they] are here” and to “Show them that [they] care”.

More information about TJ Doyle is available on his official website.

Pictures provided by Working Brilliantly.

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