If Neil Finn hailed from Seattle instead of New Zealand and performed his songs like they were about to leave him, this is the album he would make. In his place, we have Louis O'Callaghan, performing as The Graze. This one-man band just released its debut album, Iowa Anvil, and O'Callaghan's debut is an edgy neo-folk effort.
Nearly every song falls into the mid-tempo range, with the only stab toward a speedier pace in "I Am the Little Girl," an angsty number that puts a rare taste of fuzz bass into the works to good effect. O'Callaghan's melodies work best unplugged, as things get overbearing when the electric guitars come out, a fate only "I Am The Little Girl" escapes. "Doubt," with its flourishes and grating lyrics, falls flat, and "Filler" turns out to be an accurate name.
But simple acoustic numbers like "Everything" and "Busy" (a haunting lament about losing touch with life), redeem the few duds Iowa Anvil has to offer. For people who like well-written guitar music, O'Callaghan delivers the goods. Don't take my word for it; see The Graze for yourself Friday, April 22, at the Riot Factory, $5.