It's telling that Royal Wood was a child musical prodigy. His instincts for manoeuvring around a song are expert. For someone so young, that could only come from having been around music at a very early age. He simply makes it sound too easy. The album drifts from sad pastoral laments to capering piano pop jubilance with an effortlessness that is truly staggering. Vocally and lyrically, Wood comes surprisingly close to Aimee Mann's stomping grounds, with glancing blows at Ron Sexsmith's tenebrous pipes and brand of songcraft. But Wood is his own man, his own voice, and the sincerity of his words can't be blamed on anyone but him.
Royal Wood launches Tall Tales at the Rivoli Friday (May 14).