Clear Blue, the name of Paul Turner’s debut album, about covers it. The album is clear, clean, like a blue sky. So clean and clear, in fact, you start listening intently in hopes you’ll hear something not so clean and clear. A little crack in his voice, maybe, a knock on a guitar, perhaps. An errant breath picked up on the microphone, or a little extra crack of a drum stick. No, you won’t find it. Clear Blue is crisp and clean like a mountain stream that’s bottled up and sold to us for several dollars when you can get the same water from the kitchen tap for free.
Turner, a native of Australia, has produced (off his own independent label – White Lotus) a solid album. It’s pretty, but without the sounds of actual people making actual music, though. Maybe it’s just me, but I want an album not so overproduced it sounds like it just came off the mint. I want it a little scruffy. No music is perfect (Ace of Base not withstanding [I kid]).
And Clear Blue SEEMS perfect – Turner’s John Denver voice, guitars that sound like the pluckings of angel wings, violins that sound like a frolicsome unicorn under a warm sunrise, drums that sound like the thump of a warm warm heart. Perhaps it’s an exaggeration, all this. Maybe not though. The album would be perfectly suited, in other words, as the musical accompaniment to a morning meal at a bed and breakfast perched on a glorious mountain meadow.
This really isn’t a harsh criticism – the album’s fine, really, it’s just so fine it’s refined to excess. “Love Meteorite” is a strong and solid song you’ll want to replay after it’s once through, “Poison” is a folk-like melody, “It’s so plain to see your poison is killing me,” he sings. The title track sounds like something Marc Cohn might pen during a quiet introspection.
A meditation on life, delicate, with a strong sense of respect for nature and spirituality, the album is rather sweet and beautiful, like that frolicsome unicorn under that warm sunrise. It’s good to relax to, bathe to, light candles to as you read Pablo Neruda poems aloud to your sweet sweet love but it won’t stick with you once the last track plays. Until you play it again, anyway. In the meantime, perhaps you should buy some candles and visit your used bookstore for that Neruda book.