Album review: Love is Louder

Ashley Wadhwani, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

Craig Cardiff, a singer-songwriter and father from Toronto, leaves it all on the table in his two-part album Love is Louder. According to his online biography, during his performances, Cardiff has audience members write things they are too scared to say out loud in his “book of truths.” Love is Louder acts as a response to the secrets written in this book.

Noticeably versatile, Cardiff manages to reach a world of melancholy and joy all at once. Cardiff’s new project gives listeners 14 original songs with six of the songs produced two different ways, divided into Part One: Louder! and Part Two: Gentler!

Part One: Louder!

A personal favourite, “Radio #9” takes on a more country than folk personality with a welcoming intro of guitar and drums. Cardiff’s voice successfully takes the spotlight in this number, while his lyrical writing is on-point with the catchy chorus, “why don’t you radio home?”

Cardiff mirrors John Mayer with his rough-meets-therapeutic voice in “Boy Inside The Boat.” He does such a great job of mixing serious lyrics with a carefree beat that you can’t resist grooving to. Imagining the audience swaying to a live performance of this song brings shivers down my spine.

“Love is Louder (Than All This Noise)” takes a turn with an upbeat, energy-infused song of hope. With the chorus backed by a choir, Cardiff loses the soulful quality he had going for him in the previous tracks. The powerful lyrics make this song an anthem, but unfortunately the personal quality gets lost when the instrumental aspects get too large for the voice. In a way, the noise is too loud for the listener to really feel the love.

Part Two: Gentler!

Don’t think that “gentler” means boring. Using his best qualities, Cardiff’s voice sounds clear. The innocence of his raw voice with the support of only a few instruments is incredibly powerful.

“John Wilson” shares the same country-esque narrative as “Radio #9,” with a folk tone. Cardiff gets creative with a mix of percussion and violin and takes a sweeter vocal route. Suddenly four minutes has gone by and the song ends, but all you want is more.

The problems with the version of “Love is Louder (Than All This Noise)” in Part One: Louder! are avoided, and Cardiff shines through. His pitch balances well as he maintains control through the stressed chorus and doesn’t begin to sound like yelling.

Cardiff nails the instrumentals in “Last Love Letter” with impressive chords on the guitar that can actually be heard in this more acoustic track. Part Two: Gentler! includes more of a folk-like sound that accompanies the heavier country in Part One: Louder!. Cardiff sounds strong when he sings, “The heart knows how to sing when the hand only knows what it knows / what it knows from the memories.”