PRESENTED BY TOM MILLET
CHICAGO MAG (07) ): The talented Mr. May is an Australian analog to Ron Sexsmith. May's songs are direct and to the point and highlight his achingly wonderful voice. There are bits here that remind me of Jeff Buckley, Neil Finn and Ronnie Lane, too. This is pretty good company to mentioned in, and May is quite deserving of such lofty praise. The Sexsmith comparison comes through very strongly on "Sad Is Somehow Beautiful". It's just obvious in the gentle, flowing melodies. The song has two primary melodies that compliment each other perfectly. This song radiates tenderness and empathy. May's slightly sandpapery voice is perfect on the loping "Two Hours a Day", which comes closer to Crowded House/Squeeze territory. This song has an instantly memorable chorus, as he sings about a woman who has spent "five long years in a cocktail dress/two hours a day trying to look your best." Let's just say her life hasn't turned out quite the way she would have liked. That track features the drumming of the late Paul Hester of Crowded House, who also provides a strong contribution to the 'rockingest' number on the record, "The Fever". The track contrasts a slinky rhythm with a little burst of floating melodic guitar. While the full band tracks are all terrific, on songs like "You Know It's Over" and "St. Patrick's Eyes", spare accompaniment spotlights May's vocals to great advantage (though on the latter, the band does come in to add a bit of drive). This is a very compelling piece of work.
HELEN BARRADEL (IMPRESS MAGAZINE) Hearing Melbourne songsmith Jeff May's debut album Confessions, made me feel like the ghost of Elliot Smith was in the room, messing with my stereo. The first track, When I Lay Awake At Night, finds the Dublin born May as a dead ringer for the recently departed Smith and felt so disconcerting that I pressed stop and took the album out of the player. As a huge fan of Smith, an artist of such pure originality with a never-to-be-heard-again voice of a generation...well, to have someone else channel him in this way, well I wasn't having any of it. Thank God I changed my mind and hit play again a few days later. The rest of Confessions is truly impressive - 11 tracks that differ so greatly from the opening song that it feels like a completely separate record. Lying somewhere between Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams' starker work with hints of Smith present, May has a keen eye for poetic detail, melodies with great hooks and a voice like syrup. A wonderful addition to the already exquisite layered textures and beautiful production from Richard Pleasance is that the late, great Paul Hester of Crowded House drums on the record. The outstanding I Have My Judgement is a leaf torn straight from Buckley's book. The stirring I Still Believe In You is a stripped back ballad with striking harmonies - why this track hasn't made high rotation on radio station play lists is an absolute crime. And remarkable tracks like Surrender or She Likes To Sing reveal the nucleus of what Jeff May's music is all about: sad eyed observations, original and inspiring compositions and an unmistakeable ambience that drenches each of the record's 12 songs and establishes May as an artist with a grace and style all of his own. With Buckley and Smith on the other side, the world needed somebody who would not fill their shoes, but follow close behind. In Jeff May, we have found just that. Inspiring.http://www.myspace.com/pprjeffmay
Tune in again tomorrow !!