An impressive blend of great ingredients, the Pantones at various times tap the DNA of the Jayhawks, Ben Folds, the Byrds, R.E.M., Wilco, the Beach Boys and — perhaps most impressively — guitar licks that Ron Wood tossed out like confetti in the ’70s. Add infectious hooks, sweet background vocals, and a judicious use of their multi-instrumental talents, and these dozen tracks demand some ear time.
Matthew Carlson’s songs are as catchy and expressive as his vocals, and the Pantones exercise a skillful ability to sweeten the pot with pedal steel, strings, and horns without drowning the melodies. It starts out pretty and hummable and gets even better as it goes along. By the time it dawns on you that “History Rewritten”, the eleventh track, is the first real rock song on the record, you’ll realize that the first ten had you fooled, too.