It’s a blueprint that isn’t all that new, but is still an interesting proposition. Brandon Butler fronted emo band Boys Life for a while several years ago, but has seemingly grown up a bit, ditching the wails for the jangles of roots rock tunes like “Sparks”, which could be found on any decent Mellencamp album. And the sweetness of the opening verse continues throughout. From there, Butler outdoes himself with the slower, Americana-leaning “Fire and the Wheel”, which sounds sincere and not forced, sort of like Soul Asylum in an acoustic setting. Opting for a harrowing, barren arrangement during the aptly titled “Happy Sound (Dark and Pretty)”, Butler doesn’t bite off more than he can chew, but does sound just a bit out of his element. Fortunately, he shines on the gorgeous, deliberate “Never on a Sunday”, which has an uplifting quality about it, while “Throw Back Rockers” is a throw back rocker indeed.
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