As someone who finds most music of the last 15 years or so to be slapdash and un-involving, I'm surprised to be captivated by Ferraby Lionheart. After seeing him sing and play piano with his band on a late night talk show performance, I went out and bought this CD.
Having played it many times, I've concluded that it's a minor masterpiece and the guy is some kind of a genius.
Ferraby displays the meticulous craftsmanship and arranging skills of such older past masters as Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, and even The Beatles. He's not quite up to the level of a Brian Wilson, but I could see him getting there with the passage of time.
While he's proficient on guitar, it's his piano playing I like the most - and he plays it on many songs in the melancholy style of the old hippie eccentric Biff Rose. His navel-gazing lyrics don't always read well on the page, but his soulful, earnest vocals (he sounds like Nilsson) imbue them with layers of meaning anyway. Kind of like Elton John does with Bernie Taupin's frequently obtuse lyrics.
My favorite thing about this album is his use of unusual instruments. It's not often that you hear songs festooned and punctuated with glockenspiel, melodica, trombone, cello, viola, and sousaphone. But he uses them tastefully and artfully, crafting each song into a distinctive small gem. Every song ends just when it should, another anomaly in this age of more-is-better.
Worth seeking out is his 6-song prior release "EP" (on CD), which rocks a little more than this more laid-back affair. In summary - he's a rare soul, with big talent and a bright future.