This Portland, Maine, singer-songwriter has nailed the formula for hypersensitive tuneage, packing faux-soul and flat folk onto—sigh—another coffeehouse soundtrack. Sure, there’s solid songwriting in topics ranging from nostalgia and mystery to—yep, you guessed it—heartbreak, but Spooner’s poetic vision isn’t enough to carry this drippingly sensitive album.
“Spaceship” comes melodically close to a cornier Ryan Adams’ “Babylon,” while “Hazel” strikes a slow groove reminiscent of a Martin Sexton slow jam, which is where Spooner is obviously most comfortable. The best tracks come when Spooner strips down the instrumentation and slows things down. The haunting “All That We Know” resembles a Paul Simon stroll, and “Meant To Be” demonstrates Spooner’s minimalist abilities to make more from less. That quality, unfortunately, lacks elsewhere on The Flame You Follow. (Jonathan Stumpf)
Jason Spooner plays Sean Kelly’s Tuesday, May 27, at 9 PM. Cover TBA. Call 542-1471.