January 03, 2012 - Atlantic
The opening strains of “Oh Darling,” the first track on Trevor Dahl’s major-label debut, immediately call to mind the work of Never Shout Never’s Christofer Drew, who almost singlehandedly launched the nü-singer/songwriter genre years ago with a similar formula. Couple Dahl’s spry, bouncy vocals with a saccharine puppy-dog love motif, and you’ve got a dead ringer for Drew’s material—albeit less brash, bratty and fueled by illicit substances. But it’s ultimately lazy to company Dahl to Drew, because the former is far from a one-trick pony. Sure, there are so-cute-they-hurt love songs (the aforementioned “Oh, Darling” featuring Cady Groves), but when Dahl branches out away from this done-to-death path, his songs greatly benefit: “Patience” is a breathy ballad reminiscent of John Mayer ca. Room For Squares, while “I Blame You” seems to be emo’s 21st-century answer to “Walking On Sunshine,” a blissful, sunny, sub-three-minute slab of feel-good pop. But the real standout is “Frozen Heart,” which shockingly calls to mind classic Copeland and is a strong indicator that the kid’s got some real potential—if he adjusts the ratio of substance to sugar next time around.