Good-natured but bland pop songs.
The Farewell Drifters craft sweet, melodic and utterly forgettable songs on their third disc, Echo Boom. Honestly, there must be some kind of skill to writing tunes that evaporate so entirely from memory just moments after hearing them, but I'm not sure that's anything to aspire to. These five young men from Tennessee play an acoustic-inflected style of pop using the occasional violin accent; songs are either uptempo toe-tappers like "Punchline" and "Heart of a Slave" or slower numbers like "Words" and "I've Had Enough". All are marked, or possibly marred, by an evenhanded production that ensures nothing stands out, as well as stillborn lyrics ("I need a helping hand / For I am just a man"). It feels almost mean to dump on these guys, who seem as innocuous as a boy band and are aiming for the fresh-scrubbed appeal of the early Beatles. But niceness will only get you so far, and the Farewell Drifters just don't have the tunes to make themselves interesting.