Unconvinced this Sydneysider had anything to say with his words, I absolved myself of the need for his second album to be anything more than a lush, hypnotic rush of dreamy pop-rock. And it finally started making sense to me.
Lloyd has a way with a song and arrangement (he co-produces) that suggests a more orchestrated Crowded House (to make the least original comparison possible) or less emboldened Richard Ashcroft. But like Neil Finn, Lloyd writes words that never read as well as they sing, but start to make sense only after you give yourself over to the sound of the thing, and the fluency of the melodies.
Watching Angels Mend engages, from the bouncing drumbeat and bass notes that open "Everybody's Laughing," into the first of many marvelous choruses on "Green," through the affecting Australian hit single "Amazing" to the acoustic closer "Easy Exit Station." Lloyd is better on a glide than with a rock crunch and mostly plays to his strengths, never grinding where he could chime and never extending any song beyond its welcome.
Watching Angels Mend sounds like an album built to storm the pop charts; with a production that's as full as the kitchen sink (keys and strings run through nearly every cut and provide the dominant textures), but well separated and never claustrophobic.
And with teen-pop and rap-metal on the wane and guitar bands again the buzz, it wouldn't hurt to have a young pop musician with Lloyd's sense of classicism in the public eye as a counterbalance. If North American radio programmers display any imagination at all, there's reasonable hope for a breakthrough.