As the debut single from the as-yet untitled third album, TJ Doyle’s Unconditional is a statement of intent both powerful and dazzlingly sweet. Taking his cues from the likes of Neil Young and The Heartbreakers, Unconditional is a sixties-tinged fable about the inevitable passing of time, with love being time’s true constant.
Both compelling yet distinctly un-showy, Doyle creates elation with his sparring guitar work: think former Chilli Peppers guitarist’s Beach Boys obsession taken to the extreme, and you’ll have some idea of how ingratiating and delicate Doyle’s axe-work is. There is an effortlessness to Unconditional that contrasts well with Doyle’s lyrics of digital confusion: something that brings the singer-songwriters purely human preoccupations home in an ear-pleasingly melodic fashion.
What is most impressive is how aptly Doyle uses his own vocal presence, keeping it just low enough in the mix to complement his musicianship, while playing to his strengths as a singer. His refrain of “Love is power/ for you and me”, is less a line, than a vocal riff, harmonising perfectly with the delicate guitar-work, ad subtle drums.
Unconditional may be Doyle’s best song yet, signalling that difficult third albums are something that happens to other people.