"The Meadows"

(Single Recordings 2005)Meadows - The Meadows

Thoughtful and gentle, romance is definitely in the air when it comes to The Meadows. The debut self-titled release from the California-based duo, made up of Todd Herfindal and Kevin Houlihan, is brazenly poppy soft rock. Armed with acoustic guitars as their key weapon, The Meadows' songs sway gently on smooth vocals and sweet melodies that are driven by an unexplained optimism.

As weightless as a cloud, "Been So Long" floats easily on a smooth and likable melody while, similarly, "By The Way" is tender and bold with an instantly memorable quality. The Meadows bring to mind another duo, Simon and Garfunkel, on "Younger Yesterday" with a folksy, storytelling spirit. Much more reserved, "Light Behind The Sun" and "Stay" are quiet, opting instead for an understated appeal that pulls listeners in. Electric guitars shine through on the wistful and bittersweet attitude of the quick rocking "Long Goodbye" while the upbeat tone of the music delivers an air of good riddance. The soaring and smooth melody of "Want You To Know" and the understated power ballad "Winding Roads" offer a few comforting moments. Female vocals join The Meadows on "Little Bit Of Soul" for an soft amble that is unrushed and well balanced.

A focused and admirable debut, The Meadows' soft rock hits all the right marks. But in the end, the soft, romantic songs, although sweet and tender, tend to be predictable and somewhat repetitive. The Meadows' take few risks on the album and do very little to distinguish themselves from similar singer/songwriters.


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