Lush but laid back country pop
DIY songwriter Krist Krueger plays guitars, bass, accordion, banjo, piano, organ and other keyboards on this second full-length album under the Southerly name, yet he’s far from a one man band. Friends chip in on drums, strings, trumpet, clarinet and xylophone, making for dense, positively baroque orchestrations of what seem, at their core, to be personal inward-looking songs. “Soldiers” explodes out of the gate, leaving its plaintive piano opening behind to swell into violin sawing, drum swinging, group-hug exuberance, while “Cold Caller” swaggers along on some sort of Brendan Benson rocking pop vibe. Even “Keep it Close to the Crime”, which seems to be heading straight for sensitive, stripped down singer-songwriter sincerity, busts out the multi-instrumented crescendos at mid-cut. The result is an album that’s full of fun—big sweeping choruses and buoyant little verses—but lacks the hidden shadows and shifting, ambivalent moods that make for great pop. This is pretty enough, impressively played and constructed, but a little light in the tail.