Published Feb 18, 2014Singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons comes with excellent credentials. His previous records, five in all, were exceedingly well received. Which is to say they were cited in all the right places and more than one of his songs found their way onto network television. On the heels of Gold in the Shadow (2010), a page turning acoustic effort, Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla (whose production credits include the Decemberists and Tegan and Sara) signed on to produce Lions, his sixth and latest full-length record.
This time around, however, the Illinois-based Sam Beam doppelgänger seems stuck, Sufjan-Stevens-style, at the tedium stage of an existential crisis. His fingerpicking is exquisite and his whispered melodies are evocative, but Lions lacks texture and diversity, and tracks like "Took" and "From You" beg for big, cathartic drum solos or electro outbursts to break through all the gossamer and seriousness. (Nettwerk)