The Excelsior label brings us one of their newest talents: Tim Knol. This young musician is rising fast in the ranks, playing with label mates Johan on their farewell tour and getting a lot of support from other good bands and musicians. Therefore, his debut album is already a highly anticipated one. I, for one, was really looking forward to hearing what a full length would sound like.
Starting with Clean Up, which has a bit of a 60s/70s British vibe to it but also reminds me of fellow Dutch act ‘Solo’. It has a nice little feel to it and some clever bits in the arrangement. One of the more exciting tracks on the album.
Then Sam, which is probably the album’s best track. The groovy edge to it reminds me a little over Dylan & Springsteen. Singer/Songwriter with a rock & roll basis. Tim Knol comes across a strong performer and a gifted songwriter.
The next track has a very fitting title. Cause it not just sounds familiar, it’s also called Sounds Familiar. The breezy, folky tune has a really comfortable feel to it. Very laid-back and soothing. Vocally it may not be the best track on the album, but it’s a pretty decent track.
When I Got Here comes off a little weird the first and second time you listen to it, but the more you listen to it, the more you appreciate the melodic lines in it and the arrangement actually works. For some reason it makes me think of Donovan.
The balladry shown on Find All The Love is sweet but not very exciting. It’s a safe song, well done, but it doesn’t stand out for me. No real climax or utter excitement here. It would, perhaps, make a decent radio song, and it’s sung with a lot of feeling, but yeah, a bit of a safe song.
Only Waiting, however, I think is a possible single and one that I really enjoy. Lyrically very strong and one of Knol’s best vocal performances on the album. It is still laid-back but also has a very current feel to it. The track has excitement, build up and most of all it has body. It’s a complete track that could defitinely do something to the listeners of this genre.
The faster-paced, acoustic Or So I’m Told, is a 60s-influenced song, or at least, that’s what it sounds like. And you always make me happy with a 60s-like sound. On top of that it’s pretty damn catchy and another sign that Tim Knol is a name we’ll continue to hear in the coming years.
The happy, poppy When I Am King is another song that’s very suited for radio. Very inviting and very open, this song is guaranteed of airplay if released to mainstream radio. Would work great for commercials too.
Must Assist is a track that grows on you. At first I wasn’t too excited about it, but by now it might be one of my favorite tracks on the album. It may help I heard Tim Knol live in the meantime, so knowing what he can do on stage brings something extra to the album as well, but Must Assist is a song that is quite impressive if you take some time to get to know it.
A song with the title Music In My Room is something that is instantly appealing to me. So I was really happy that the song itself did also. This small, intimate, acoustic song is full of emotion and heartfelt lyrics. An absolute highlight on this interesting debut album.
Me & A Lot Like You is a nice acoustic song, one that I really enjoy, but I think its placement on the album could’ve been better, though on the other hand it very naturally flows from the previous song.
The next song is one that was already out. Silverman Hotel was already getting some decent airplay and it’s obvious why. It’s probably the fullest track and it has something about it. It’s not traditionally catchy but it does have the quality of sticking with you. It’s not hard to get into the song and it’s a pleasant listen. So yeah, good song for the radio.
Then Driving Home, which is a track that wowed me. From the first note I was sold on this track. Musically I feel it lies somewhere between Brett Dennen & Solo and it’s a wonderful gem of talent and music. This is the track where Knol delivers, in my opinion at least.
The album closes with Deepest of Oceans, which is a nice closer but not the most exciting track on the album. It would’ve been nice to have ended with an epic song or a very emotional, intimate song, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Deepest of Oceans, however, is another proof that Tim Knol deserves his place among the rising stars of Dutch pop music.
This debut album is impressive but it doesn’t propel Tim Knol into legendary ranks just yet. In time this singer/songwriter will most likely bring more excitement and variety to his music and become an even more accomplished musician. He shows his promise and in the future there will be time and opportunity to fully develop his gift and become one of the Netherlands’ leading singer/songwriters.