Once and future New Kid on the Block Danny Wood isn’t a notably good singer, but there’s something intriguing about the imperfections of his dried-wood voice, which has the character of a whisper raised to normal volume. But whatever it would take to draw out the potential lurking within is decidedly absent throughout “Look At Me.” Filled with ponderous adult contemporary that doesn’t recognize any tempo outside the slow end of the metronome, it’s utterly without a pulse or backbone. The songs are clichéd and repetitive; of the 17 tracks, at least eight use the same chord progression. Wood sounds equally distanced and unemotional when singing about happiness in love in “The First Time” and devotion to his daughter in “Dance For Me” as he is when chronicling the wreckage of other relationships elsewhere. It’s easy to say his measured articulation resists any chance of Wood burrowing beneath the surface of his songs — but they’re all surface, every surface exactly the same.
ESSENTIAL “The First Time“
Danny Wood performs at Cafe 939 on Feb. 20.Marc Hirsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.