Bryan Estepa seems to have gone to Gary Lightbody’s school for building well-crafted, slow-building pop tunes. The performer takes this approach perfectly for the gorgeous “Aches and Shakes” that glides along without any problems whatsoever. But Estepa steps out a bit with the roots-y, strong, Gin Blossoms-leaning “Different With You” that has a delectable chorus and later on during the excellent “Skipping Days”. As well “Carl Wilson” has, naturally, Beach Boys flair but seems to sag as it goes on. Fortunately, the Beatles-meets-Sloan “Roses” puts things back on solid footing as does “I’m Going” which is Power Pop 101. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how punchy the rollicking, old-school rock/punk ditty “Myself” comes off, resulting in it being the highlight. To take a song title from this record, I wouldn’t want to second guess much of what Estepa does with this record.
// Notes from the Road
"A-WA's debut album Habib Galbi made NPR Music's '30 Favorite Albums of 2016 (So Far)' list.READ the article