Earlier this month, online music magazine SingerUniverse named Danville-based singer/songwriter Tim Farley “Best Vocalist of the Month” for his performance on “Steady As She Goes,” one of six songs from his latest EP, “Squaring Circles.” After listening to his second solo album, it’s easy to see why.
The former Pan.a.ce.a frontman made a local splash with his current band, simply called Farley, in the summer of 2011 with the release of “A Good Problem to Have.” While that EP contains great songs that hold up well, “Squaring Circles” seems to take his songwriting to the next level. This is pop rock done right, appealing to a wide variety of listeners and ready for radio play, yet maintaining an emotional earnestness and raw talent often lacking in the mainstream.
The upbeat “Dance All Night” opens the independently-produced CD with a fun song about defying age and staying out into the wee hours of the morning, providing the perfect clap-along party song before entering the slow build-up of “Don’t Go.” It starts simply with an acoustic guitar, adding a steady drum beat before the electric guitar and bass join in. Just as he is overwhelmed with feelings for his parting lover, the song swells with trumpets and heartfelt pleas.
The aforementioned “Steady As She Goes” is the “run away with me” ballad that avoids clichés and goes right for the heart, while “12 O’clock” is the country-tinged tale of a soldier calling home that goes straight for the gut, soulfully mourning the passage of time as he holds onto memories of long, late-night strolls with his other half.
“Kiss Kiss Bang” delivers the most lively and digestible declaration of the “YOLO” attitude yet, describing youthful “love on the run,” and inspiring album closer “Eyes Wide Open” has an accompanying stop-motion animated video that has reached over 100,000 views on YouTube, reflecting, much like the lyrics, that Farley is on the cusp of a major breakthrough: “On the threshold of a great wide open / To the future with eyes wide open.”
While the short EP leaves listeners wanting more, the upside is a complete lack of filler. Each song sticks for all the right reasons and will have audiences singing along by the second chorus, though the simplicity can be deceiving. There is much more going on that can be absorbed through future spins, but that, along with Farley’s bright musical future, is inevitable.
Farley ‘Squaring Circles’ Rating: W W W W V