Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Jeff Litman “Outside”

Back in 2009, the NYC-based singer/songwriter Jeff Litman scored one of our favorite picks of the year with “Postscript” (review here). Needless to say, we were very excited to hear new material in the form of his sophomore CD, “Outside”, which is out today.

In the words of Litman: ““Outside” is a record about searching for one's place in the world—professionally, romantically, artistically. Where my first record, “Postscript” is mired in the grief of a recently ended relationship, “Outside” is its slightly jaded, somewhat wiser, but still uncertain aftermath—grappling with the question of what happens next and taking on the struggles that accompany life as an independent artist at this moment in time.” As on his debut, Litman recruited some excellent personnel to make “Outisde” a memorable listen – this includes Andy Thompson (Dan Wilson, Andy Sturmer, Jeremy Messersmith) and drummer Michael Bland (Prince, Paul Westerberg, Soul Asylum). Powerpop fans should also note that none other than Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (Jellyfish) sings and plays keyboards on the bouncy title track.

For the uninitiated, Litman is a cross between Elvis Costello and Tom Petty in songwriting style and a near dead ringer for Michael Penn in his vocal tone. Mixing their brand of Americana and pop savvy, with the occasional grit of Paul Westerberg (Replacements), Litman has emerged with a record that should appeal to the masses. Opening track and first single, “Over and Over”, is the epitome of this description, sounding like Elvis Costello covering a Tom Petty-penned song. The more upbeat “Runaway” is even more enjoyable in my opinion, thanks to its ear candy chorus. “Chasing My Tail” has a great sunny vibe with a melody that reminds me of “Nobody” by The Replacements...with handclaps to boot! Additional highlights include the acoustic based pop rocker, “Don’t Want To Talk About It”, “Girl Down I95”, “Just Another Dream”, and the sublime “Don’t Do That”. Finally, be sure not to skip over the refreshing changes of pace that include the remarkably beautiful ballads, “Back To You” and the piano-driven “Time Heals Nothing”, the latter of which could be mistaken for another Westerberg song.

“Outside” is no sophomore jinx. On the contrary, Jeff Litman solidifies his reputation as a songwriter focused on melody and thoughtful lyrics. Go to his web site now for a FREE download of “Over and Over”!

Jeff Litman – Official site.

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