There are poets who compare thee to a summer's day or fixate on a red wheelbarrow beside white chickens, and then there's Raleigh singer-songwriter Nick Driver, who audaciously titled his debut LP Poet's Corner: Volume One. Thing is, on track one, Driver wastes no time announcing that "my game is tighter than an emo kid's jeans," a PG brag wrapped in an acoustic pop melody.
Driver sticks to these tropes and ruts over the course of the record, never venturing much further than Jason Mraz-styled pop-rap verses ("I'm the One for You") or arrangements embellished with gaudy synths ("Out Alive"). Poet's Corner is a record of simple and openhearted tunes, and when it works, Driver offers the kind of amiable pop that Matt Nathanson would be proud to call his own, as with the endearing "Collect the Rain." Overall, though, the formulas here produce a lack of adventure in the arrangements and a wealth of clichéd lines. When Driver presses his happy-go-lucky attitude into generic chords and universal themes about a nondescript love, the songs are forgettable and impersonal, not the stuff of swinging on birches.