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The City Destroyed Me

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Album Review

Singer/songwriter Nathan Wiley made inroads with his debut album, Bottom Dollar, that showed his strong songwriting talents and ear for melodies. Now, with the help of producer and Los Lobos member Steve Berlin, this record fleshes those ideas out for a far fuller, pleasing listening experience. Whether you're listening to the opening "One of the Worst Ones," which features some George Harrison-like guitar licks, or the ensuing sullen but solid title track, you realize that Wiley has definitely matured with this record, leaving nothing to chance but not sacrificing any sort of organic feeling for a glossy, over-produced result. The Waits-like hue on some songs, such as "Sick Side," makes for an even finer album, but even that track seems to falter a bit when compared with the stellar, shuffling, and quirky "Seven Reasons," in the vein of fellow Canadians like Danny Michel and Mark Bragg. Perhaps the dark horse on the record is the sweet lullaby "Back to Bed," on which Wiley shines from start to finish. However, "Wouldn't You" might be considered to be the performer biting off a bit more than he can musically chew, but he manages to pull it off. Meanwhile, the ominous "One Bad Woman" works because Wiley does just enough to push the swinging, jazzy Beautiful South-like song smoothly along. The highlight, though, might be the pretty, midtempo "Graveyard," which could have been swiped from Ron Sexsmith's back pocket, while a close second is the laid-back and relaxing "Getaway," which sounds a bit like Tom Brosseau. Even the songs that should be throwaways, like "Fistful of Throttle," have a definite punch.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Nathan Wiley was born in Prince Edward Island and raised in a very supportive musical family. With all of his maternal relatives musically inclined, the singer picked up the guitar at age 15 after his family disapproved of him owning a drum set. Growing up on a wide array of music, Wiley formed several high school rock bands before venturing out on his own. Spending a year away from home in Vancouver resulted in him returning to the island in 1998, but not before playing in bands called the Tubetracks...
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The City Destroyed Me, Nathan Wiley
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