Rcam Records; August 2007
Upon first listen, Johnny Irion’s Ex Tempore incites visions of bell-bottom pants, guys with long hair, and that “smooth and mellow California feeling.” I was inclined to check the liner notes for Neil Young’s name. And while Young is nowhere to be seen, he’s definitely heard; think Harvest without the social relevance. I know it’s not Irion’s fault that he sings in falsettohis voice is very prettybut that doesn’t mean he has to ape every other part of the ’70s aesthetic. I can’t get past the tattered haze that permeates every song on Ex Tempore, and it simply doesn’t work for me. If, however, you dig the soft rock orchestrations and background “oohs” and “aahs” that made this genre so popular 30 years ago, then by all means, pick this up.